EAST VILLAGE — Business tycoon and avid art collector Peter Brant plans to install a new rooftop terrace and garden at his landmarked East Sixth Street building — and his neighbors aren’t thrilled.
Brant was told at a recent meeting that locals fear the new spaces at 421 E. Sixth St. would become the site of parties and events, leading to even more noise and traffic in a neighborhood already frustrated by loud rooftop parties.
“They have parties up there all the time and that noise is really horrible, so now [residents] don’t want that to happen on Sixth Street,” said Anna Sawaryn, who attended the community outreach gathering at the Village View Community Room on East Fourth Street on Tuesday.
Neighbors are especially wary after a series of exclusive events at Brant's address in late March blocked sidewalks, took over parking spots and used noisy generators for about 11 days, residents said.
Brant did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but those at the meeting said he apologized for the disruptions, explaining that he did not know about the event when he loaned the space to a friend, residents said.
“He did come there to say to people, ‘I was not aware, that’s not what I approve,’ and he said he’s not going to have parties there,” Sawaryn said.
Brant — who heads White Birch Paper, one of the largest newsprint manufacturers in North America, as well as Brant Publications, Inc. which publishes Interview magazine — purchased the former Con Edison substation and home of artist Walter De Maria for $27 million in July, according to city records.
He plans to add a roof terrace with a glass skylight as well as a garden area with more than a dozen trees and granite pavers, according to documents filed with the city.
Renovations also included the repair and restoration of the building’s brick facade and the replacement of the windows, according to the paperwork.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission heard the proposal and approved the changes on May 5, said spokeswoman Demaris Olivo. Community Board 3 previously supported the plan at its full board meeting, records show.
Brant told residents the building would house a permanent art collection and be used as exhibition space, they said, similar to the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, Connecticut.
According to the center’s website, Brant’s “large and expansive collection” focuses on contemporary American artists.
“He kept saying, ‘If you want to see what it’s going to be like, come visit my foundation in Greenwich, Connecticut.’" Sawaryn said. "But you can’t really compare Greenwich, Connecticut to New York City or the East Village."
Although the building would not be open to the public, residents could view the artwork by appointment, which did not sit well with many residents who thought Brant should open the gallery to local schools and community members, meeting attendees said.
“If he’s already in our community and he’s already caused chaos, he should really give something back to our community,” Sawaryn said.
It is unclear when construction will begin or when the gallery will open.