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Thread: The Landmarks Preservation Commission

  1. #316
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post

    I should think so, too.

    Vornado Sent Back to Drawing Board on Manufacturers Trust Bank Development

    http://www.dnainfo.com/20110315/manh...#ixzz1GlbZHe3U
    Strike Two:

    Glass Slipper Again Doesn't Fit for Vornado at 510 Fifth Avenue

    CURBED
    April 13, 2011

    Vornado's proposal to reconfigure the landmarked (both inside and outside!) former bank at 510 Fifth Avenue again couldn't shatter the glass ceiling yesterday. The developer's revised plan failed to receive enough votes at the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move forward. The design team from SOM architects presented an extensive scheme in response to LPC remarks following the initial presentation last month, when the commission chided the creative crew over too many changes to the 1953 Gordon Bunshaft minimalist masterpiece and sent the team back to the drawing board.

    Of particular concern is the news that Vornado and retailer Joe Fresh, which is leasing a portion of the main floor and the entire mezzanine for a new retail flagship, want to demolish nearly the entire mezzanine level in order to restructure that area so it can accommodate the reconfiguration of the original escalators that rise inside the Fifth Avenue facade. ...

  2. #317
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Pushing the Limits of History

    Fight Over Proposed Expansions of West End Historic District Is Hottest in City

    By ANNE MILLER

    On West End Avenue, two projects—one under construction and one proposed—have triggered a debate over the city's historic-landmark preservation process.


    Construction plans for 732-734 West End Ave. could be hindered by an expansion of the area's historic district.

    The houses at 732-734 West End Ave. are slated to give way to a $10 million, 16-unit apartment complex scheduled to open in June 2012. Another project similar in size is planned for 508-510 West End Ave., but is on hold, as the city Landmarks Preservation Commission considers extending local historic districts to include those properties.

    Expansion of the historic districts would essentially halt the planned apartments. "We were concerned that a number of brownstones were going to be torn down and sliver buildings built between some of the prewar brownstones, which would look horrible," said Richard Emery, president and co-founder of the West End Preservation Society, which launched the West End expansion effort.

    The developer of the project at 508-510 West End Ave. stands to lose millions of dollars if it is restricting from building as planned, said spokesman Ken Frydman. He said that the developer, Sackman Enterprises, the managing agent for the properties, is willing to work with the community on facade design.


    Plans for 508-510 West End Ave. could also be affected by an expansion of the area's historic district.

    The Real Estate Board of New York, a trade association that represents some of the largest developers in New York, is strongly opposed to the West End expansion, saying it reduces the value of smaller buildings.

    "You're basically freezing that three-story, four-story townhouse in perpetuity," Michael Slattery, REBNY's senior vice president said.

    A building in a historic district is required to obtain an extra layer of city permits required for proposed alterations to a building's facade. Minor changes that aren't permanent, like a seasonal window air-conditioning unit, don't need approval. However, major changes, like a demolition or a new addition, require a public hearing and commission vote, said Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    The enlargement of the West End historic-district protection—which actually involves three separate expansion proposals—is the most controversial pending before the landmarks commission, according to the real estate board. In all, there are 12 proposals to designate or extend districts in 10 neighborhoods. If all were approved, they would add more than 3,000 buildings to the historic preservation lists, currently protected. REBNY hasn't weighed in on the other proposals.

    The next hearing on the West End expansion is slated for June 28. Most of the proposals will have been voted on, or had a public hearing, by year-end, according to the commission.



    Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney said part of the current push is to give neighborhoods more attention in boroughs other than Manhattan. The Bronx, for example, "has not gotten the attention that's warranted by the history and architecture over the years," he said.

    Many neighborhood organizations spearhead the efforts. In Brooklyn, the Park Slope Civic Council, which has clamored to expand the historic district there, is conducting an online "building genealogy" survey, asking for detailed histories from homeowners in the area. The group also seeks volunteers to generate community support.

    "You have to have a reasonably coherent streetscape," Mr. Tierney said. "When you're walking down the streets of the West Village or Brooklyn Heights, you know you're not in the Financial District."

    But that coherence argument has been criticized by REBNY, which says that previous landmarks commissioners cited a lack of streetscape coherence outside of the boundaries they set for the original West End historic designations.

    Mr. Tierney said that the commission doesn't always get it right the first time when crafting historic-district boundaries. While a neighborhood may not have undergone a wholesale change, the opinions of commission members about what makes the neighborhood historic can differ from their predecessors.

    "These things can be revisited," he said.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...rk_real_estate

  3. #318
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Landmarks Are Called a Hardship, Setting Off a Fight

    By JOSEPH BERGER


    The building at 430 East 65th Street is part of a battle between tenants and the landlord,
    which hopes to tear it down.


    A landmark has an aura of permanence about it. So it is a fair bet most New Yorkers believe that if their building has been declared a landmark, it will remain untouchable, like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.

    But tenants at two six-story walk-ups on the Upper East Side are wondering whether landmark status may be more fragile and fleeting than they had thought. Those buildings along York Avenue in the East 60s, part of a complex of 15 walk-ups built between 1898 and 1915, were designated landmarks in 2006 because they were examples of a Progressive Era effort to improve tenement design for low-wage earners. The tan brick buildings offered snug apartments that overlooked courtyards and let in more air and light than a typical tenement’s railroad flat.

    But the landlord, the Stahl real estate organization, has applied to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for permission to tear the two buildings down. The landlord claims the buildings are losing $1 million a year and cannot return an adequate profit — defined by the city’s administrative code as 6 percent — if they remain. Allowing construction of a high-rise building, one that would have panoramic views of the East River, would, Stahl says, eliminate that hardship.

    The commission is reviewing the landlord’s application and has not scheduled a hearing. But, already, it has gotten a vigorous rebuttal. The tenants of the buildings, at 429 East 64th Street and 430 East 65th Street, most of them elderly or single people or couples on fixed or low incomes, are frightened. They say they can afford to remain on the Upper East Side only because their apartments are rent-controlled or rent-stabilized. The tenants include nurses, artists, a librarian, an exterminator and a firefighter.

    “It’s upsetting when you live in a place and you don’t dare do anything because you don’t know how long you’re going to be here,” said Janet Nonamaker, 67, a retired flight attendant who has lived in her building for 33 years but has been holding off on installing a new kitchen floor and doing other renovations because the building might be demolished.

    Revoking landmark status is a rare step for the commission. Since it was created in 1965, the commission, which oversees 27,000 landmarks, has received 16 hardship applications, 15 of them requesting demolitions, and has granted 11 requests. It last approved such an application in 2008, allowing St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan to tear down its maritime-themed O’Toole Building to avert bankruptcy. The hospital went bankrupt before it could do so.
    The two buildings on York Avenue were declared landmarks over the Stahl organization’s objections. Among tenants leading the campaign to “Stop Stahl” is Monica McLaughlin, 52, an unemployed lawyer. She has collected and analyzed scores of real estate documents and has warned the commission of the wider impact of granting Stahl its request.

    “In this city there would not be a landmarked building safe from the wrecking ball, and the L.P.C. may as well close up shop altogether,” she wrote to the commission.
    Ms. McLaughlin is a spirited daughter of a doorman; she grew up in rural upstate New York and completed college when she was 38 and law school a few years afterward, eventually working as an asbestos litigator before losing her job. She lives with two West Highland terriers, Missy Paulette and Casey Jane.

    Ms. McLaughlin and her tenant allies have accused Stahl, owner of the building since 1977, of “warehousing” apartments, letting 107 of the 190 apartments lie vacant to ease the way for demolition. They have accused the landlord of padding operating expenses by including in its application $368,000 in legal fees for fighting landmark status and deliberately underestimating potential rents it could collect for all apartments to make a profit.

    The application pegs the average rent at $600, when by the tenants’ estimate the apartments can fetch several times that amount in their upscale neighborhood opposite Rockefeller University. They say Stahl is exaggerating the buildings’ drawbacks by claiming they have inadequate electrical systems and narrow staircases.

    They have also chronicled how the landlord, in an effort to stave off the landmark designation, removed many of the buildings’ Beaux-Arts-style stone carvings and terra cotta trim and then plastered the exterior with a coral pink stucco that contrasts with the tan brick of the complex’s other buildings. The commission eventually based its decision on the layout of the buildings more than on its original adornments.

    “He messed the facade up and then said it’s not landmarkable because of the facade,” Ms. McLaughlin said.

    Brian Maddox, a consultant to the Stahl organization, acknowledged that Stahl was leaving apartments empty in the hopes of demolishing the buildings or redeveloping the property. Mr. Maddox said the $600 rental estimate was made by real estate professionals and was based largely on the apartments’ small size — an average of 371 square feet. He said if the property was demolished, Stahl would find tenants comparable apartments in the complex’s remaining 13 buildings. If not, the company might have to upgrade or combine vacant apartments in the rest of the complex in order to charge higher rents. He denied that legal fees were included in operating expenses.

    The organization was founded by Stanley Stahl, who at the time of his death in 1999 was the sole stockholder of the Apple Bank for Savings and held four million square feet of office space and 3,000 apartments. He owned the Ansonia, a landmark apartment house on the Upper West Side, and other landmarks like TriBeCa’s Western Union Building; the Chanin Building, on East 42d Street; and the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. Mr. Maddox said Stahl had treated such landmarks respectfully.

    The buildings between York Avenue and First Avenue — known originally as First Avenue Estate — were put up by City and Suburban Homes Company, whose prominent investors agreed to limit their profit so blue-collar workers could have better housing than was available in tenements of the day; each apartment had a bathroom and each room a window.

    The complex was first declared a landmark in 1990, but that year, the city’s Board of Estimate — not too long before going out of business as an elected body — removed the two buildings on York Avenue from the designation. The rationale was that the board had removed the landmark status of two buildings in a similar-model tenement complex on East 79th Street whose owner wanted to build a luxury tower. But in 1992, the whole 79th Street complex was made a landmark, and tenants between 64th and 65th Streets fought to restore their buildings’ landmark status as well, succeeding in 2006.

    Tara Kelly, executive director of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, argues that the entire complex has to be preserved to sustain its integrity.

    “The complex is significant as a whole,” Ms. Kelly said, “and these two buildings are part of the whole.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/30/ny...1&ref=nyregion

  4. #319
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Let's see what Commandant Tierney does on this one. Lately he's shown himself to be something of a know-nothing in regards to what Landmarking status should mean.

  5. #320

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    Lame brains. The magic of this building is the Modernist continuum of unbroken space from outside to the far reaches of the mezzanine. Destroying that is not forgiven by strips of black granite.

    Lame brains.

  6. #321
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    LPC bent over backwards at 510 Fifth to appease both Vornado & Joe Fresh. So now we'll have a chopped up masterpiece stuffed with jeans galore.

    Basically unsaid through all this is the requirement for massive restructuring to allow for the reconfiguration of the escalators (something like 75% of the existing floating mezzanine floor will be demolished / re-structured / re-built). Of course this will also include lots of foundation re-structuring (to hold the new mezzanine & escalators), but that area is outside the purview of LPC and therefore was not part of the discussion.

    No one should be surprised if Vornado returns to LPC within the decade with an application for a tower up top of Bunshaft's glass box, since the site is way underbuilt per FAR. And no doubt the owner will make the claim that LPC has set the precedent that what was here has been altered already, so why not more?

  7. #322

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    Landmarks Are Called a Hardship, Setting Off a Fight

    By JOSEPH BERGER


    The building at 430 East 65th Street is part of a battle between tenants and the landlord,
    which hopes to tear it down.
    These buildings are absolute crap. I lived around the corner from them for years. If the schmucks at LPC let stunning prewar buildings get razed all of the time, then this filthy POS should come down.

  8. #323
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Seems they might look like crap now because the owner took a hatchet to them to try and avoid landmarking.

  9. #324

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    This most recent attempt by owner the Stahl Organization to demolish a portion of the landmarked First Avenue Estate through misrepresentation and lies not only must stopped, but the City of New York has an obligation to its tax paying residents to prosecute greedy Stahl (including and especially that organization’s president Richard F. Czaja, whose signature is all over the application) for fraud to prevent unscrupulous developers from future endeavors.
    Stahl’s real estate experts (Cushman & Wakefield) prepared feasibility reports for 2009 and 2010. While in 2009 they determined market rates for the vacant apartments to be $1233, in 2010 the market rates, according to them, for those very same apartments had plummeted to $600 (see page 42 where the real estate “experts” determined the new rate by comparing the landmarked First Avenue Estate to NYCH project housing.) Why the more than 50% deduction? Stahl jury rigged figures to compensate for the removal of “capital improvement” expenses (façade destruction) listed in 2009 as operating costs. In further creative accounting, in 2010 Stahl included $368,480 of Professional Expenses related to their attempt to prevent land marking, as operating expenses in attachments to their Application to the LPC (See documents TC101, 150 201 and 309 signed by Richard Czaja and their accountant).
    I could go on, but as any first year accounting student can tell , Stahl’s document are pure fraudulent nonsense. That Stahl has the gall to present just such nonsense and that the LPC would choose to entertain just such nonsense is downright scary. Whatever are they thinking?


  10. #325
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    biased much?

  11. #326

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    The Stahl Organization made good on their threat to destroy the facade (to render the buildings unworthy of landmark status) should the buildings be placed on the LPC calendar. In addition to covering the tan brick with stucco, they removed the architectural pediments and replaced 20% of the windows with gigantic out-of-character windows. After spending hundreds of thousands on such endeavors, they then claimed they were unable to make money on them.

  12. #327

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    Not at all (although I do admit to a personal interest). I am stating facts that speak for themselves. Whether or not the buildings deserve to have been landmarked is a non issue. That has been answered by the LPC and the NYS courts. The Stahl Organization has an application for a certificate of appropriateness in for demolition. The issue now is one of whether or not these buildings are capable of earning a reasonable return as defined by LPC code. To determine an income stream for a commercial property one considers operating expenses. Items such as capital improvements and professional fees to fight landmarking status are not operating expenses. Period. Stahl fraudulently included these items as operating expenses.

  13. #328
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Historic Designation Sought For East Village


    By Jill Urban

    (see article for video)

    Residents living in Manhattan's East Village are set to weigh-in on a proposal to landmark an historic section of the neighborhood.

    It’s a neighborhood that is rich in history and now the city is hoping to preserve it. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is considering giving historic designation to a large part of the East Village.

    "These five or six blocks tell a great story about New York City’s immigrant past: waves of immigration in the 19th century and in the 20th century. So you see the tenements, the row houses, the churches, the synagogues, the theaters -- all of which produced a very diverse culture then and even now," said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Robert B. Tierney.

    The commission recently completed a study of close to 300 buildings in the proposed district that is bounded roughly by East 2nd and East 7th Streets between First Avenue and the Bowery, as well as 10th Street on the north side of Tompkins Square Park.
    The neighborhood currently has 27 individually landmarked buildings and only one historic district.

    Andrew Berman, the executive director for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, calls the plan a great first step, but says he hopes the designation will include a greater area.

    "It's one of the most historic neighborhoods in all of New York City. We think it's great that they are looking at the areas they are looking at which are definitely worthy of landmark designation. We are just also concerned about the areas they are not looking at, which aren’t included which are also worthy of landmark designation," Berman said.

    While the historic designation would preserve the integrity and character of the neighborhood, it will create more obstacles for building owners looking to make upgrades. Some say that could be a draw back, while others claim the historic status will only help the neighborhood flourish.

    Before it’s approved, the public will have plenty of opportunities to weigh in. The first will be May 12th when the commission officially presents its plan to the community board. It's scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. at the BRC Senior Services Center at Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, located at 30 Delancey Street, between Chrystie and Forsyth.

    For information about the proposal, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/propose/pending.shtml

    http://www.ny1.com/content/ny1_livin...r-east-village

  14. #329

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Seems they might look like crap now because the owner took a hatchet to them to try and avoid landmarking.
    I agree. However, unless they're converted to market-rate rentals, no one will pay to restore the details.

  15. #330
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    Historic Bath House is Midtown's Newest Landmark

    The pillared building now serves as a recreation center.

    By Jill Colvin


    The bath house first opened in 1911. (Courtesy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission)


    MIDTOWN EAST — A former public bath house has been named Manhattan's newest landmark.

    The East 54th Street Bath House and Gymnasium, between First and Second avenues, opened in 1911 as one of 13 bath houses built by the city to improve the health of residents living in crowded tenement apartments, the Landmarks Preservation Commission said.



    The East 54th Street Bath and Gymnasium.

    At the time, the neighborhood was dominated by tenement buildings as well as factories and breweries, which lacked wash facilities.

    The pillared, three-story building with large, recessed arches, included more than 100 showers as well as a gym, swimming pool, running track and playground.
    It was taken over by the Parks Department in the 1930s, and now serves as a community recreation center.

    "The building’s presence on the street is as powerful as the reform movement that led to its construction," Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement.

    "It’s lasting proof of a continuing commitment the City of New York made more than 100 years ago to protect and improve the health of its citizens."

    http://www.dnainfo.com/20110511/murr...#ixzz1M8JR5kkC

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