There is a new property on the market for a financially strong buyer to build a 40-foot-wide townhouse in the heart of Greenwich Village’s historic district – subject to Landmarks Preservation Commission and Department of Buildings approval – for $6.64 million.
The listing is located at 14 and 16 Gay St. It is part of a portfolio of five buildings that developer Lionel Nazarian purchased last year for around $12 million and was once owned by the late Celeste Martin.
The eccentric actress and activist owned more than $25 million in real estate at the time of her death at the age of 98 in 2019. One of their properties, known as “the pink townhouse” at 114 Waverly Place, was purchased by Robert and Cortney Novogratz for $8.5 million in 2019.
But suspected illegal work in the basement of 14 Gay St. apparently forced the DOB to classify the 196-year-old federal-style townhouse as unsafe. So the department ordered the demolition in January.
The controversial demolition outraged locals and activists. At the time, Councilman Erik Bottcher, State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Rep. Deborah Glick and others held a press conference calling for an end.
In a statement, Bottcher said, “I demand accountability to the people who allowed this historic building to deteriorate to the point of collapse.” Nothing is more important than lives and safety, but the city should not allow that bad actors get away with reckless construction practices that lead to demolition.”
Nazarian, who was previously on trial for allegedly trying to evict rent-controlled tenants from an East Village building, claimed he did nothing wrong.
The now vacant lot at 14 Gay St. can also be purchased separately for $3.65 million. No. 16 Gay St. is a nearly 18 foot wide, four story federal style townhouse with an area of approximately 1,800 square feet that could also be sold separately for $2.99 million.
If plans are approved, a buyer could create a 4,500-square-foot lot with a garden and an additional 1,500 square feet (through a finished basement), all in a “winding hideaway” between Waverly Place and Christopher Street, the listing says.
Author Ruth McKenney used to live with her sister at 14 Gay St. — paying $45 a month in 1934 — in a basement apartment that became the setting for a number of 1930s New York stories and the book My Sister Eileen ‘ published in 1938, later adapted into films, radio shows and a television series.
The stockbrokers are Matthew Lesser, Ravi Kantha and Matthew Pravda by Leslie J. Garfield.