By Nicole Breskin
GREENWICH VILLAGE — Anderson Cooper's architect promised that the CNN newsman's $4.3 million firehouse in Greenwich Village will be largely preserved, assuaging fears from local preservationists that the historic building would be torn down or drastically altered.
Cary Tamarkin, Cooper's architect, told DNAinfo that although the 1906 building will undergo some changes as it's refashioned into a home, they intend to preserve the majority of the historic touches on the façade — and even keep the fire poles.
“[Cooper and I] are aligned in our thinking to be nothing but respectful,” Tamarkin said. “We hope to retain the spirit, the soul and the memory of the firehouse.”
Plus, he added, “There will be plenty of fire poles.”
Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said he was relieved to hear the news about Cooper's plans but would not stop his push for the site to be landmarked by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Landmark designation would tightly restrict the type of work Cooper could do to the building, and would block him from tearing down the structure or altering its facade. It would also require him to get approval from the commission before any renovation or alteration work.
“Our first choice would be for a Fire Patrol to be there in perpetuity,” said Berman, whose organization tried unsuccessfully to get the building landmarked in 2006. “Given that isn’t happening, I’m glad that the new owner is someone who wants to preserve the building and not tear it down.
“But we push every day, and we’re going to keep pushing, for the site to fall under the jurisdiction of the Landmarks Preservation Commission given that our goal is to preserve the building in the long term.”
The firehouse, located at 84 West Third St., was one of three Fire Patrol stations that served the city before there was a municipal Fire Department.
Last week, it qualified for the State and National Register of Historic Places — a victory for preservationists. But the registry offers only financial incentives for preservation and does not require it.
Tamarkin, who has previously worked on renovations of a former Barney's Department Store headquarters at 206 W. 17th St. in Chelsea and a warehouse building at 140 Perry St. in the West Village, said he is currently in the planning stage of the design.
He has not yet set a date to begin construction, or for Cooper to move in.