The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) has submitted a proposal for the creation of the South Village Historic District in January 2007. The boundaries of the district would cover the blocks south of West Fourth St. to West Houston St., between Seventh Ave. and LaGuardia Place, and an extension from Houston St. down to Watts St. between Sixth Ave. and the midblock line west of West Broadway.
Comprised of 38 blocks and about 800 buildings, it would be the city’s first tenement-based district. What many consider the heart of the Village — streets including Bleecker, Carmine, MacDougal, Sullivan, Thompson, Cornelia, Jones, and Minetta Lane — are included in the proposed South Village district. These streets were not included in the Greenwich Village Historic District was designated in 1969.
The neighborhood is home to several buildings beloved of preservationists. GVSHP’s proposal cited the demolition of the Tunnel Garage on Broome and Thompson Sts., the Circle in the Square Theater on Bleecker Street., the Sullivan St. Theater and the Poe House and Judson Memorial Church Community House at Thompson and W. Third Sts.
The GVSHP has expressed concern that NYU development and expansion threatens several buildings in the proposed South Village District. The GVSHP contends that NYU’s demolition of two buildings (Provincetown Playhouse and Holy Trinity Chapel) within the area that NYU supported as a possible historic district demonstrates the University’s wavering commitment to the neighborhood.
In April 2009, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) agreed to put forward a proposal to designate the historic district. Preservationists are concerned that the delay in action by the LPC has allowed for some of the structures, which would be considered part of the historic district, to be changed. Once a project is under review by the LPC, structures can not be altered.