Demolition is progressing on 14 Gay Street, a landmarked three-story residential building in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Located in the Greenwich Village Historic District, the 196-year-old structure was deemed at risk of imminent collapse by the city and was ordered to be immediately demolished. The current owner, Nazarian Property Group under the 14 Gay Street LLC, also owns the adjacent 16 Gay Street to the north and purchased both buildings along with three other nearby sites for around $12 million last April. Howard I. Shapiro & Associates is listed as the applicant of record for demolition permits that were recently filed for the property, which is located between Waverly Place and Christopher Street.
Due to the historic nature of the building, Nazarian Property Group intends to save all of the original construction materials to be used in a replacement structure overseen by the city and LPC.
Recent photos show the top two stories already demolished and only the ground level left to be razed. Work is being performed by hand to ensure the safe preservation of the adjacent buildings’ brick and wooden party walls. A large perimeter fence had been installed over the sidewalk and onto Gay Street due to the risk of sudden collapse.
The Department of Buildings (DOB) had fielded numerous complaints about the nearly 200-year-old building due to its rundown state. Some of the concerns included the leaning and bowing of an external cellar wall in early 2020 and reports of shaking and vibrations in the summer of 2021. A team of forensic engineers and DOB inspectors were brought onto the scene this past November and discovered signs of un-permitted cellar repair work that deviated from engineering plans that were pre-approved by the DOB and Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).
The most prominent unapproved work was the nearly complete removal of a load-bearing wall without the installation of sufficient supports. In addition, illegal work had been performed on the foundation walls of the adjacent 16 Gay Street that further damaged the building’s structural integrity. These alterations left the structure in such a state that authorities deemed it unsalvageable from total collapse. A full vacate order was promptly issued and demolition work began several days later under the supervision of the owner’s engineers.
The adjacent 16 Gay Street remains structurally compromised but is still standing. Further evaluation will be required to determine whether internal shoring can prevent the fate of its neighbor from befalling it, as well.
14 and 16 Gay Street are located within walking distance of the 1 train at the Christopher Street station, as well as the A, B, C, D, E, F, and M trains at the West 4th-Washington Square station.