A Call to Arms!
The 1832 Merchant’s House – Manhattan’s First Landmark – is Fighting for Its Survival!
For six years, the Merchant’s House Museum has been fighting to stop proposed construction of an eight-story hotel next door at 27 East 4th Street that would dangerously compromise the structural stability of the museum’s 1832 landmark building, risking complete collapse.
The Merchant’s House is a federal, state, and city landmark. It is one of the city’s first designated landmarks and one of only 120 buildings (and one of only six residences) that is an interior landmark. Remarkably, landmark status does not guarantee protection from adjacent construction.
A victory for historic preservation.
Because the planned eight-story hotel violates the City’s Zoning Resolution, the developers applied for a series of special permits (“spot zoning”). Opposition was overwhelming from preservation and community organizations, elected officials, government agencies, and thousands of concerned citizens. On September 26, after a seven-month public review process, the City Council voted unanimously to REJECT the developers’ application, a tremendous victory for historic preservation.
But our fight is not over.
The developers can still build a six-story building on the site next door even without the rezoning. They also own the lot around the corner at 403 Lafayette Street, where a larger (thus, more profitable) hotel could be built with no risk to the Merchant’s House. We are working with our elected officials to encourage the developers to consider this alternative.
Why We Opposed the Proposed Hotel Next Door!
- The Merchant’s House would suffer catastrophic structural damage and likely collapse during construction.
- The proposed eight-story hotel is undesirable and unnecessary at this location. The community neither wants nor needs another hotel on 4th Street.
- The proposed Zoning Text Amendment was illegal “spot zoning,” benefiting only the developers.
- The developers could shift the hotel project around the corner to 403 Lafayette Street, removing all risk to the Merchant’s House.
How You Can Help
- SIGN our petition — Click here.
- DONATE to the MHM Legal Fund (see below).
- SPREAD THE WORD! Ask your friends and colleagues to help!
The Merchant’s House is a vital – and irreplaceable – New York City cultural institution. Open to the public since 1936, it is New York City’s only family home preserved intact, inside and out, from the 19th century.
“If the Merchant’s House can’t be protected, no landmark is safe.
No historic district is safe. No natural resource is safe. No community or neighborhood is safe.”
Michael Hiller, land use, zoning, and preservation lawyer
We can’t save the Merchant’s House without your help!
Please consider a donation. Any amount will make a difference.
“In my estimation, the Merchant’s House is without a doubt
the most important historic house in this city, and
it’s now probably the most endangered one.”
Michael Devonshire, Architectural preservationist and
Commissioner, Landmarks Preservation Commission
“… New York City has plenty of boring eight-story hotels, but we only have one Merchant’s House.”
Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director, Historic Districts Council