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Thread: New York University Expansion

  1. #151
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    You're misinterpreting the process. Designation is the law applied to private property. The LPC are not elected officials. They must hand it over to the legislative for approval. Inaction for 120 days is de facto approval.

    I don't know if the City Council debated and voted on Silver Towers. At any rate, the designation passed the final hurdle after going to the City Council and became law.

    Jamaica Savings never got out of City Council. The designation by the LPC (which was not yet law) was denied by the City Council. Jamaica Savings never became a city landmark.

    What happened with Jamaica Savings and what would have to happen with Silver Towers are entirely different. I was going to edit last night and say that I didn't know how that could be done; but Lofter already posted it.
    I don't see how the LPC being elected officials or not, has anything to do with it. They're empowered by the law to designate landmark status to both public and private properties alike.

    The link to the LPC site I posted previously clearly spells that out:

    "By law, landmark designation is effective upon the Commission's vote, and all rules and regulations of the Landmarks Law are applicable."

    It does not say that the landmark designation is pending until the City Council gives it their stamp of approval.


    Regardless, the point of all this is that the landmarking process is very much political and this recent example at 225 W 57 St thoroughly proves that.

  2. #152
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The protections of LPC and the Commission's regulations under the NYC Charter actually go into effect when a property is Calendered for consideration by the LPC, well before any LPC approved designation is made. But the full power of the law does not kick in until all the t's are crossed and the LPC designation makes its way through the other city agencies & offices.

  3. #153
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Obviously, other city agencies (City Planning, Dept of Buildings, etc.) will have to be formally notified of the LPC's decision but that in no way makes the LPC's decisions any less official, lawful and immediately in-effect.

  4. #154

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    Let me try this from another direction.

    I asked if anyone knew of any property that was de-landmarked. You said Jamaica Savings was overturned. I said it never got out of the City Council; I'll use another word - it wasn't finalized. Silver Towers passed through the City Council and became a landmark which cannot be overturned.

    In response to my original question, are you still saying that Jamaica Savings is an example?

    If so, how - like Jamaica Savings - does Silver Towers get its landmark status revoked?

  5. #155
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    N.Y.U. scraps plans for fourth tower in landmark site after I.M. Pei objects

    By ALBERT AMATEAU and JOHN W. SUTTER

    Henry Cobb, a partner of the architectural firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, sent a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission chair Robert Tierney: “A fourth tower is profoundly destructive of the landmarked entity because it closes a composition that was intended to be open and upsets the carefully considered balance between solid and void. It also seriously compromises the generous visibility of Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette.”

    In a surprise reversal on Thursday, New York University announced that it was withdrawing its Landmarks Preservation Commission application to build a 400 ft. tall fourth tower on the superblock site of three I.M. Pei-designed residential towers.

    The decision was driven by a letter that Henry Cobb, a partner of the architectural firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, sent to the L.P.C. on Nov. 10 saying that Pei, 93, was strongly opposed to the proposed tower on the landmarked portion of the superblock that N.Y.U. design consultants had said would complement the “pinwheel” arrangement of the Pei design.
    The Cobb letter also said the firm preferred the alternate N.Y.U. proposal to build on the northwest corner of the superblock not landmarked and occupied by the Morton Williams supermarket.

    N.Y.U. officials said on Thurs., Nov. 18 that the decision was made as a mark of respect for Pei’s vision and the L.P.C., which in 2008 granted landmark protection to the Pei-designed Silver Towers plaza and its three 300-ft.-tall residential buildings surrounding the 36-ft. tall rendering of Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette.

    The alternative building proposed for the Morton Williams site, not yet designed, would be considerably shorter than the withdrawn proposal for the tower – about 17 -20 stories and 200 ft. tall, N.Y.U. officials said. But because the alternative site footprint is much larger, the building would have roughly the same 225,000 sq. ft. as the previous proposal.

    The alternative building would also have larger floor plates than the previous design and be more suitable for academic uses, university officials said.

    The original N.Y.U. plan called for a hotel in the 400 ft. tower, and the university intends to include hotel uses on an as-yet-undecided location in the larger project. Alicia Hurley, N.Y.U. vice president for government affairs and community engagement, said, "Our former proposal had four buildings and our new proposal has four buildings. With the withdrawal of the application for the tower on the landmarked site, we will keep all of the proposed uses, including hotel and housing, in the mix. All of the uses are still in play."

    Lynne Brown, N.Y.U. senior vice president, said in a prepared statement, “From the beginning, we sought a design for the Silver Towers block that was most respectful of Mr. Pei’s vision. Some people disagreed with our approach, others agreed. We believed that among those who agreed was Mr. Pei himself who expressed no opposition to the concept of a tower on the landmarked site when we spoke to him directly in 2008. Mr. Pei has now had a change of heart. The clarity Mr. Pei has now provided that the Morton Williams site is preferable is helpful to us in understanding how to proceed with our Uniform Land Use Procedure proposal.”

    The city ULURP will be needed for the approval of the entire NYU 2031 proposal to build up to 2.2 million sq. ft. in the two superblocks, Brown noted.

    The Cobb letter to Landmarks Preservation Commission chair Robert Tierney said in part, “A fourth tower is profoundly destructive of the landmarked entity because it closes a composition that was intended to be open and upsets the carefully considered balance between solid and void. It also seriously compromises the generous visibility of Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette.”
    Cobb said that the alternative proposal on the Morton Williams site was “unattractive as represented in its filing, but as an as-of-right building…is nonetheless preferable to the proposed fourth tower. Ideally, the corner building would be designed so as to make it more responsive to its neighbors and to the landmarked entity."

    The N.Y.U. proposal for the landmarked site has been the target of much neighborhood opposition, and neighbors have also said they were opposed to a building on the Morton Williams supermarket site.

    View a PDF of the letter sent by Mr. Henry Cobb.

    http://thevillager.com/villager_395/nyutower.html


  6. #156
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYU should take note of Henry Cobb's comments in regard to the plans for the Morton Williams site at the SE corner of Bleecker & LaGuardia Place:

    "Although NYU's alternative scenario, with a 17-story in the corner, is unattractive as represented in the filing, an as-of-right building on that site is nonetheless preferable to the proposed fourth tower. Ideally, the corner building would be designed so as to make it more responsive to its neighbors and to the landmarked entity."

    Gauntlet thrown down. NYU & Grimshaw Architects can now prove themselves to be sensitive developers who care about the area or once again show that they don't give two sh*ts about truly good architecture.

  7. #157

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    ^
    It's a two way street. NYU needs so much space, and if they can't get the various gov't approval (landmarks, zoning, etc) they have to make it fit where they can do it as of right. Here they can. If they need to build a big boring block because that's what works with the exiting zoning, that's what they're going to do.

    The "fourth silver tower" if we want to call it that, would have probably been nicer looking, and had less impact. But the "community" didn't want it. So now the "community" has to live with what it gets instead.

  8. #158
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    That would be architecture by spite. No need that the new building be as ugly as the render NYU has shown for the corner site.

  9. #159

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    Maybe they'll hire Gene Kaufman to do the detailed design work.

  10. #160
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    With NYU you never know.

    Kaufman's specialty is the trick facade. Not so adept at free standing structures.

  11. #161
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Let me try this from another direction.

    I asked if anyone knew of any property that was de-landmarked. You said Jamaica Savings was overturned. I said it never got out of the City Council; I'll use another word - it wasn't finalized. Silver Towers passed through the City Council and became a landmark which cannot be overturned.

    In response to my original question, are you still saying that Jamaica Savings is an example?

    If so, how - like Jamaica Savings - does Silver Towers get its landmark status revoked?
    You can choose to call it however way you want, but the fact of the matter is Jamaica Savings had its landmark status overturned while the Silver towers had no opposition to its landmark designation and with enough time having passed, it can't lawfully be reversed.

    Just because the law allows a window for reversal does not mean that the structure is not a landmark during that time frame.

    Let me now pose a question...

    Since reversal by a bunch of politicians (City Council, the Mayor) of a decision by the LPC (individuals who actually have backgrounds in architecture, art, design, etc.) is allowed just goes to show that reversals are in large part politically motivated and not purely based on architectural merits of the structure.

    This supports BBMW's original claim that the whole landmarking process can be very politically influenced.
    Last edited by antinimby; November 20th, 2010 at 10:32 PM.

  12. #162
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Actually, here was no "reversal" in the designation of the Jamaica Savings building. The City Charter allows the Council (1) to Approve the LPC designation -- by either voting for or choosing not to act -- OR (2) to Disapprove the LPC designation. City Council voted to Disapprove, as is their right under the City Charter, and therefore stopped the designation process.

    You'll not find the words "reverse" or "reversal" (or any other variant) within the law governing NYC landmarks.

  13. #163
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Okay, if you're going to go into semantics, then does the phrase "choosing not to act" also in the law governing NYC landmarks?

    (Hey, I'm only using your argument.)

    Whether one chooses to use the words "reversal" or "disapprove" or whatever, it all means the same thing: something was landmarked, and then its landmark designation was taken away/removed/cancelled/voided/reversed/annulled/changed/disapproved.
    Last edited by antinimby; November 21st, 2010 at 07:28 PM.

  14. #164

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    Just because the law allows a window for reversal does not mean that the structure is not a landmark during that time frame.
    Having landmark-status during the 120 day period has nothing to do with BBMW's claim and my answer.

    A law introduced in 2009 by the City Council required LPC to inform DOB of a property being considered for landmarking. The DOB in turn is required to revoke and building permits and issue no new ones until the matter of landmarking is settled.

    You can therefore say that, as a practical matter, the property has landmark status from the date of consideration.


    Since reversal by a bunch of politicians (City Council, the Mayor) of a decision by the LPC (individuals who actually have backgrounds in architecture, art, design, etc.) is allowed just goes to show that reversals are in large part politically motivated and not purely based on architectural merits of the structure.

    This supports BBMW's original claim that the whole landmarking process can be very politically influenced.
    We all can agree that the landmarking process is filled with politics. But Silver Towers potentially losing its status is not part of landmarking. As I stated, it's the reverse - de-landmarking.

    Your examples only show the politics of landmarking. If you want top contend that de-landmarking is political, I think you should at least give one example where it happened. Then we can debate whether or not it was political.

  15. #165
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    After Pei protests N.Y.U. plan, supermarket site is new focus

    By Albert Amateau

    After New York University announced last week that it was withdrawing its Landmarks Preservation Commission application to build a 40-story fourth tower on the superblock site of three I.M. Pei-designed residential towers, Village neighbors and preservation advocates were waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    What comes next is the N.Y.U. as-of-right alternative to build on the northwest corner of the superblock on the Morton Williams supermarket site — which is not protected by landmark designation.

    Because the supermarket site has a larger footprint, the building would be broader and shorter, 17 to 20 stories, about 200 feet tall; but it would have roughly the same total 250,000 square feet of space proposed for the abandoned project, which is the same square footage of each of the three existing buildings.

    Nevertheless, neighborhood and preservation-advocacy opponents vowed last week to fight the alternative. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031 are holding a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wed., Dec. 1, in the basement hall of Our Lady of Pompei Church, at Carmine and Bleecker Sts., to explore the implications of the change.

    This week, Alicia Hurley, N.Y.U. vice president for government affairs and community engagement, said the university will file a uniform land use review procedure, or ULURP, application next year for development on both the south Silver Towers superblock where the Pei buildings are located, as well as the north Washington Square Village superblock.

    “The ULURP will also cover the block east of Washington Square Park between Waverly Place and Washington Place, not for a change in F.A.R. [floor area ratio] but for retail uses,” Hurley said. “We expect the Department of City Planning to certify our ULURP application in the late summer of 2011 to begin a seven-month review process, including community board and department meetings and final City Council approval,” she said.

    N.Y.U. decided to drop the tower plan after Henry Cobb, a partner of the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, sent a letter to L.P.C. saying that Pei, 93, was strongly opposed to the proposed tower on the landmarked portion of the superblock. University design consultants had said the additional tower would complement the “pinwheel” arrangement of the Pei design.

    The Cobb letter said in part, “A fourth tower is profoundly destructive of the landmarked entity because it closes a composition that was intended to be open and upsets the carefully considered balance between solid and void. It also seriously compromises the generous visibility of Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette.”

    Cobb also said the alternative proposal on the Morton Williams site was “unattractive as represented in [N.Y.U.’s] filing, but as an as-of-right building…is nonetheless preferable to the proposed fourth tower. Ideally, the corner building would be designed so as to make it more responsive to its neighbors and to the landmarked entity.”

    Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P. executive director, said he was gratified that the university dropped its original plan, “in the face of overwhelming opposition, including from I.M. Pei.” However, Berman added, “N.Y.U.’s insistence on moving ahead with its alternative plans for a development on the adjacent non-landmarked supermarket site, as well as the remainder of its massive NYU 2031 plan to add 2 million square feet of space around Washington Square Park, shows that the university still does not get it.”

    Berman said N.Y.U. should look to places like the Financial District to absorb its growth, and vowed to continue to fight the university’s plans for the Village.

    Jo Hamilton, chairperson of Community Board 2, said she was surprised and relieved by the university’s withdrawal of its L.P.C. application for the 400-foot tower.

    “However, we are equally concerned about the proposal to build on the Morton Williams site,” she said. “It is immediately adjacent to 505 LaGuardia Place and the community garden and just across the street from Washington Square Village.”

    Hamilton said the community board is now trying to learn exactly what the university wants to build and how it would fit in the ULURP application.

    “We will be considering the impacts of the entire project on light and air, shadows, wind tunnels, open space, traffic, infrastructure and many other factors,” she added.

    N.Y.U. officials said last week that the university withdrew its L.P.C. application as a mark of respect for Pei’s vision and for L.P.C., which in 2008 granted landmark protection to the Pei-designed Silver Towers plaza with three 300-foot-tall towers around the 36-foot-tall, sculptural rendering of Picasso’s “Bust of Sylvette.”

    The original N.Y.U. plan called for a hotel in the 400-foot tower, and the university intends to include hotel uses in an as-yet-undecided location in the larger project.
    Hurley said, “Our former proposal had four buildings and our new proposal has four buildings. With the withdrawal of the application for the tower on the landmarked site, we will keep all of the proposed uses, including hotel and housing, in the mix.”

    Lynne Brown, N.Y.U. senior vice president, said in a prepared statement, “From the beginning, we sought a design for the Silver Towers block that was most respectful of Mr. Pei’s vision.

    Some people disagreed with our approach, others agreed. We believed that among those who agreed was Mr. Pei himself, who expressed no opposition to the concept of a tower on the landmarked site when we spoke to him directly in 2008. Mr. Pei has now had a change of heart. The clarity Mr. Pei has now provided that the Morton Williams site is preferable is helpful to us in understanding how to proceed with our uniform land-use review procedure proposal.”

    Cobb said this week that although he was not present at the 2008 conversation between Pei and N.Y.U., he has spoken to Pei and other people who were there.

    “Mr. Pei made no comment on the fourth tower plan. On that issue he was silent,” Cobb told this newspaper on Monday. Cobb noted that the conversation occurred shortly before L.P.C. designated the Silver Towers complex a city landmark in November 2008 — two and a half years before N.Y.U. applied to L.P.C. for approval of the fourth tower.

    “The letter I wrote to the L.P.C. was narrowly focused and carefully written, and the only reason we commented was because we felt obliged to comment on any alteration to the landmarked site,” Cobb said.

    http://www.thevillager.com/villager_396/afterpei.html

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