View Poll Results: Hotel Pennsylvania should be replaced with the proposed office building

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  • Yes

    76 44.97%
  • No

    93 55.03%
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Thread: Hotel Pennsylvania - by McKim Mead & White - to be replaced by 15 Penn Plaza

  1. #1066
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    Quote Originally Posted by yankees12 View Post
    We're not talking about Grand Central Terminal here. We're talking about a mediocre hotel that's run down and largely out-of-date, and is more famous for being the subject of a song than for its own architectural beauty.
    With your standard of what should or shouldn't be worthy of saving, 98% of all the city's buildings should be razed and supertalls built in their place because that's how much of them are not on the level of a "Grand Central."

    Outside of a handful of buildings that fall under the most special landmark status, most in this city should fall under the wrecking ball. Is that the kind of city, Robert Moses....err...yankees12, you would like the city to be?

    Let's remodel ourselves like the city of Houston while we're at it.

  2. #1067

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    With your standard of what should or shouldn't be worthy of saving, 98% of all the city's buildings should be razed and supertalls built in their place because that's how much of them are not on the level of a "Grand Central."

    Outside of a handful of buildings that fall under the most special landmark status, most in this city should fall under the wrecking ball. Is that the kind of city, Robert Moses....err...yankees12, you would like the city to be?

    Let's remodel ourselves like the city of Houston while we're at it.
    First off, I despise Robert Moses and the entire idea of having highways running through cities. So that comparison is absolutely asinine and illegitimate.

    Second off, this is an issue of analyzing the cost of this project - losing Hotel Penn - versus its benefits - a beautiful new supertall, increased office space, furthering the redevelopment of the Penn Station area, etc. I'm not going to say that losing Hotel Penn isn't a steep price to pay, but it's one that's worth it if it's the only way to get this tower built - and it is the only way. The architectural and financial benefits of such a tower would far outweigh the architectural and financial benefits of the current Hotel Penn.

    I'm assuming, under your line of thinking, that you would have opposed the ESB being built, since it meant tearing down the old Waldorf-Astoria. The argument to save Hotel Penn falls right in the same line of thinking, only it's arguing to save a less architecturally significant hotel than the old Waldorf-Astoria.

  3. #1068

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    ^I think that's a worthy argument.


    Waldorf-Astoria ---->Empire State Building
    =
    Hotel Penn -----> 15 Penn Plaza




    The design is still lacking for me to be convinced that this is a good enough replacement, though I'm a little more impressed now that we know it's 1,225 feet.
    But as you guys said, with so many other sites available, it should just rise elsewhere.



    Quote Originally Posted by JSsocal View Post

    Finally, Check-Out Time for Hotel Penn?
    Landlord Vornado launches rezoning push to replace creaky lodge with big office tower

    -Development of the Penn East site [between 33rd and 34th streets along Seventh Avenue] with approximately 1.9 million gsf of office use and approximately 71,000 gsf of destination retail space; and
    KPF is designing this one with a height of 1,200+ feet. I've seen some massing models of this where it's taller than ESB.

    -Development of the Penn West site [between 33rd and 34th streets along Eighth Avenue] with approximately 574,000 gsf of hotel use, approximately 37,000 gsf of retail space, and approximately 490 residential units."
    This should be fairly tall as well. Hopefully, after the downturn, the great stalled projects will be able to resume where they left off.
    Last edited by Derek2k3; January 3rd, 2009 at 03:35 PM.

  4. #1069
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    Quote Originally Posted by yankees12 View Post
    First off, I despise Robert Moses and the entire idea of having highways running through cities. So that comparison is absolutely asinine and illegitimate.

    Second off, this is an issue of analyzing the cost of this project - losing Hotel Penn - versus its benefits - a beautiful new supertall, increased office space, furthering the redevelopment of the Penn Station area, etc. I'm not going to say that losing Hotel Penn isn't a steep price to pay, but it's one that's worth it if it's the only way to get this tower built - and it is the only way. The architectural and financial benefits of such a tower would far outweigh the architectural and financial benefits of the current Hotel Penn.

    I'm assuming, under your line of thinking, that you would have opposed the ESB being built, since it meant tearing down the old Waldorf-Astoria. The argument to save Hotel Penn falls right in the same line of thinking, only it's arguing to save a less architecturally significant hotel than the old Waldorf-Astoria.
    Boy, we just love quoting an entire post don't we? Maybe I'll give that a try as well.

    Let's breakdown yankees12's claim shall we?

    First, he says there will be an architectural benefit. Show me a new Vornado building that has added to the city's proud architectural legacy?

    Does that mean that if they can't build it on the Hotel Penn site, then they won't give us a architectural-worthy tower on another spot?

    It's either the Hotel Penn gets razed or we get a glass box somewhere else, right?

    Second, the financial benefit part.

    Razing Grand Central and building a supertall tower in it's place while putting the station underground (just like Penn Station) would reap financial benefits as well.

    The same can be said with the Plaza, Central Park, the Chrysler building (with it's inefficient outdated floorspace) and so and build nice big tall towers in their place will reap unimaginable financial benefits as well.

    Where do you stop, Robert "yankees12" Moses?

  5. #1070
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Ugh, KPF. No thanks.


  6. #1071

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    With the reality that is NY development lately, they would just tear down a wonderful building (HP),
    dig out a big hole, surround it with plywood , and let it sit fallow for what will seem like generations...
    besides does this city really need another glass box for office space that there is currently a surplus of?!
    I say fix up the Penn, continue to collect the more than 22 million ( i think that's what i read) it makes,
    and wait for better times when they CAN tear down that other rubbish.
    Do it right or don't do it at all!

  7. #1072

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    Boy, we just love quoting an entire post don't we? Maybe I'll give that a try as well.

    Let's breakdown yankees12's claim shall we?

    First, he says there will be an architectural benefit. Show me a new Vornado building that has added to the city's proud architectural legacy?
    http://www.vnooffice.com/propdetails.php?id=06

    Not to mention, the Port Authority Bus Terminal Tower. You have to remember, Vornado is a Realty Trust - their main business is acquiring and leasing out already existing properties, not building new ones. Thus, they haven't built too many skyscrapers in NYC because that's not their main business.

    Does that mean that if they can't build it on the Hotel Penn site, then they won't give us a architectural-worthy tower on another spot?
    As of right now, yes, because they're not going to spend the money on acquiring an entire block full of buildings that they mostly do not own in order to build, in this economic climate. The Hotel Penn site is the most viable option for this tower. It also is the only space available in the area which would not require special permits to build a tower of this size.

    It's either the Hotel Penn gets razed or we get a glass box somewhere else, right?
    Not at all. The "somewhere else" options are dwindling, since the areas most viable for development are quickly being developed, and in this climate, developers aren't going to want to acquire huge amounts of land they don't currently own to build, or areas in which they need special permits from the city to build, especially when there is an area that a developer currently owns in full and does not need special permits sitting there available for redevelopment.

    Second, the financial benefit part.

    Razing Grand Central and building a supertall tower in it's place while putting the station underground (just like Penn Station) would reap financial benefits as well.

    The same can be said with the Plaza, Central Park, the Chrysler building (with it's inefficient outdated floorspace) and so and build nice big tall towers in their place will reap unimaginable financial benefits as well.
    You missed the entire "architectural benefit" part, I can tell. None of those things would be architecturally beneficial to the city.

    And to completely ignore financial benefits by saying that demolishing any structure and building a tower on it would be financially beneficial is asinine. The reason anything in this city is built - whether it be Grand Central, the Chrysler Building, the ESB, or OBP, NYTT, 4TS, the new WTC, or this tower we're discussing right now, is because it will have financial benefits. Financial benefits are the motives behind every single piece of development in this city. If they were ignored, we'd be looking at an island that's barely changed since Henry Hudson first discovered it.

    I'm not saying financial benefits should overrule architectural benefits. But this is a case where we'd be getting a beautiful new skyscraper that would be a key component of the redevelopment of the Penn Station/Moynihan Station area, and would be far more beneficial financially to this city than the out-dated Hotel Penn is.

    Where do you stop, Robert "yankees12" Moses?
    Again, this had nothing to do with Robert Moses or anything like that. I'm supporting demolishing an average structure that no longer serves its main purpose that well in order to build a future landmark that would have a gigantic impact both on the skyline and on the area in which it is located, and bring millions of dollars and tons of office space into an area that can certainly use it right now.

    Once again, I ask - would you support tearing down the old Waldorf-Astoria in order to build the ESB? If you're going to make the giant leap that supporting the demolition of HP is akin to remodeling this city into Houston or is like Robert Moses, I think the comparison of tearing down a major hotel in favor of a massive supertall is valid.

  8. #1073

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    Quote Originally Posted by scumonkey View Post
    With the reality that is NY development lately, they would just tear down a wonderful building (HP),
    dig out a big hole, surround it with plywood , and let it sit fallow for what will seem like generations...
    besides does this city really need another glass box for office space that there is currently a surplus of?!
    I say fix up the Penn, continue to collect the more than 22 million ( i think that's what i read) it makes,
    and wait for better times when they CAN tear down that other rubbish.
    Do it right or don't do it at all!
    Totally agree.

  9. #1074
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    Quote Originally Posted by yankees12 View Post
    http://www.vnooffice.com/propdetails.php?id=06

    Not to mention, the Port Authority Bus Terminal Tower. You have to remember, Vornado is a Realty Trust - their main business is acquiring and leasing out already existing properties, not building new ones. Thus, they haven't built too many skyscrapers in NYC because that's not their main business.
    Yeah, the Bloomberg tower and the PABT tower ranks right up there with the ESB and Chrysler in architectural significance. You can gauge the interest the Bloomberg tower has with skyscaper/development enthusiast here on this forum by seeing when the last time a post was made in that thread.

    Lasting legacy...yeah right.

    As of right now, yes, because they're not going to spend the money on acquiring an entire block full of buildings that they mostly do not own in order to build, in this economic climate. The Hotel Penn site is the most viable option for this tower. It also is the only space available in the area which would not require special permits to build a tower of this size.
    Umm...Earth to yankees12...they are working on a "special permit" otherwise known as a rezoning in order to build this. Did you not understand the reason why we're even discussing this right now in the first place?

    Duh.


    Not at all. The "somewhere else" options are dwindling, since the areas most viable for development are quickly being developed, and in this climate, developers aren't going to want to acquire huge amounts of land they don't currently own to build, or areas in which they need special permits from the city to build, especially when there is an area that a developer currently owns in full and does not need special permits sitting there available for redevelopment.
    Didn't people, including londonlawyer, Derek and myself just finished saying all the other sites right in that area that can be redeveloped?

    Duh, again.


    You missed the entire "architectural benefit" part, I can tell. None of those things would be architecturally beneficial to the city.
    You can't have it both ways. In one argument, you say that the original Waldorf-Astoria as great architecturally it might be was replaced by the ESB. Why can't Grand Central be replaced by something architecturally better?


    And to completely ignore financial benefits by saying that demolishing any structure and building a tower on it would be financially beneficial is asinine. The reason anything in this city is built - whether it be Grand Central, the Chrysler Building, the ESB, or OBP, NYTT, 4TS, the new WTC, or this tower we're discussing right now, is because it will have financial benefits. Financial benefits are the motives behind every single piece of development in this city. If they were ignored, we'd be looking at an island that's barely changed since Henry Hudson first discovered it.
    You don't read well. I did not say to ignore financial benefit. I'm simply saying that if you're going to use that argument, then you have to apply it equally to every site or building as well, not just ones you find convenient to make your case.

    I'm not saying financial benefits should overrule architectural benefits. But this is a case where we'd be getting a beautiful new skyscraper that would be a key component of the redevelopment of the Penn Station/Moynihan Station area, and would be far more beneficial financially to this city than the out-dated Hotel Penn is.
    Beautiful is only your claim. We don't know what the tower will look like. That rendering is just to give you an idea. By the time, it gets buillt, it will look nothing like it. Furthermore, that tower is nothing special.


    Again, this had nothing to do with Robert Moses or anything like that. I'm supporting demolishing an average structure that no longer serves its main purpose that well in order to build a future landmark that would have a gigantic impact both on the skyline and on the area in which it is located, and bring millions of dollars and tons of office space into an area that can certainly use it right now.
    Your argument is inconsistent. You even admit this tower won't be built right now but then you say the area can use the dollars right now. Get your story straight first.

    Once again, I ask - would you support tearing down the old Waldorf-Astoria in order to build the ESB? If you're going to make the giant leap that supporting the demolition of HP is akin to remodeling this city into Houston or is like Robert Moses, I think the comparison of tearing down a major hotel in favor of a massive supertall is valid.
    You keep on insisting that we're going to get an ESB equivalent here as if that was for certain. In all likelihood, we're not.

    In this day and age, especially with the need to maximize floorspace, you're going to get at best something like a Bank of America and that is if you're lucky.

    You're going to have an equal chance of getting a taller version of something this also:


  10. #1075

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    Quote Originally Posted by yankees12 View Post
    But this is a case where we'd be getting a beautiful new skyscraper ...
    Why are you sure it will be beautiful?

    Quote Originally Posted by yankees12 View Post
    Once again, I ask - would you support tearing down the old Waldorf-Astoria in order to build the ESB?
    False argument.

    In the 1920's when the ESB was designed it was expected... it was a given... that new architecture in NYC would make lavish use of limestone, marble, granite... include sculptural detailing, mosiacs, murals... step-backs and a crown. That's just the way it was.

    We knew that a skyscraper replacing the Waldorf would be something spectacular.

    Sorry ...but today the most likely scenario... unless other wise indicated... is a box with mirrored glass. Street deadening walls... banks.... etc.

    I'd be all in favour of a replacement for the old Penn if it were truly something wonderful by a great architect.... and especialyif the development also included a hotel.... a new Hotel Penn.

  11. #1076

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    Quote Originally Posted by yankees12 View Post
    The proposed site does need redevelopment, of course.
    Why "of course?"

    Even in its neglected condition, the hotel makes a heap of money - so it's not a burden on the city or its owner.

    If your argument is that more money can be realized by redeveloping the site - we can make the same argument for any building in the city.

    And to make the ESB example more relevant: If preservation efforts weren't non-existent as they were in the 1920's, and a call went out to save the Waldorf - would there have been other places to build the ESB?

  12. #1077

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    Yeah, the Bloomberg tower and the PABT tower ranks right up there with the ESB and Chrysler in architectural significance. You can gauge the interest the Bloomberg tower has with skyscaper/development enthusiast here on this forum by seeing when the last time a post was made in that thread.

    Lasting legacy...yeah right.
    Well, construction on it is over. There's no reason for there to be too many posts in that thread anymore. And the PABT tower is improving one of the ugliest structures in the city.

    Umm...Earth to yankees12...they are working on a "special permit" otherwise known as a rezoning in order to build this. Did you not understand the reason why we're even discussing this right now in the first place?
    Of course it needs a rezoning - virtually no tower of its size doesn't need one. It doesn't need any further special permits to my knowledge, however. Its path to approval is far easier than that of, say, Tower Verre or Atlantic Yards, even though it's likely far more controversial than Tower Verre.

    Didn't people, including londonlawyer, Derek and myself just finished saying all the other sites right in that area that can be redeveloped?

    Duh, again.
    But they're not going to be redeveloped in favor of HP because Vornado doesn't own all that land, while it does own all of the land HP sits on. Vornado isn't about to redevelop a site that they would have to buy up as opposed to a site that they already own. And considering they own some of that land, another developer can't either. 34th and 7th is, sadly, going to sit there until another economic boom happens and space in the area gets so limited that they will be willing and able to buy up that land and build on it. Until then, however, they're not going to spend the resources on that when HP is sitting right there. Therefore, it's not feasible.

    You can't have it both ways. In one argument, you say that the original Waldorf-Astoria as great architecturally it might be was replaced by the ESB. Why can't Grand Central be replaced by something architecturally better?
    Easy - because it is the pinnacle of architecture for train stations, and basically can't be replaced by something architecturally better.

    There's a difference between great buildings and mediocre buildings. Great buildings shouldn't be knocked down for any reason. Mediocre ones, even if they are old, should be able to be knocked down if a far better and more beneficial building is going to replace it. It's not like HP is some great historic site either - it's an average, out-of-date building that happens to be in one of the most viable spots for redevelopment in the city.

    You don't read well. I did not say to ignore financial benefit. I'm simply saying that if you're going to use that argument, then you have to apply it equally to every site or building as well, not just ones you find convenient to make your case.
    There are times where architectural significance overrules financial benefit, and there are times where financial benefit overrules whatever architectural value a site may have (if it doesn't have much), of course. This is one of those times where any architectural value HP might have (it isn't architecturally significant by any stretch) is overruled by financial benefit (and, in this case, a likely upgrade in what's on the site).

    Beautiful is only your claim. We don't know what the tower will look like. That rendering is just to give you an idea. By the time, it gets buillt, it will look nothing like it. Furthermore, that tower is nothing special.
    Of course it's nothing special, it's likely little more than a placeholder. But even that placeholder is a nice looking tower that would look good in the NYC skyline.

    Your argument is inconsistent. You even admit this tower won't be built right now but then you say the area can use the dollars right now. Get your story straight first.
    I never said this tower couldn't be built right now - I said it couldn't be built on the 34th and 7th site right now. This tower, on the HP site, can certainly be built right now.

    You keep on insisting that we're going to get an ESB equivalent here as if that was for certain. In all likelihood, we're not.
    In this day and age, especially with the need to maximize floorspace, you're going to get at best something like a Bank of America and that is if you're lucky.[/quote]

    Well, the ESB is never going to be replicated, so of course we're not getting an ESB equivalent. I never insisted such a thing, I just made a comparison between this situation and the ESB situation. In all fairness, the old Waldorf-Astoria was a lot more architecturally significant than HP, so it evens out.

    And if we can get anything near a BoA, I'll be thrilled. BoA is one of the nicest towers in this city, and one the best skyscrapers built anywhere this decade.

    You're going to have an equal chance of getting a taller version of something this also:

    Doubtful. When was the last time you saw a supertall in NYC - or anywhere for that matter - be designed like that? That's a shorter tower, and thus can have a low-key design in order to blend in and relate to its surroundings better. Taller towers naturally are going to taper off, have spires, have setbacks, curves, etc.
    Last edited by yankees12; January 3rd, 2009 at 05:40 PM.

  13. #1078

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    I don't think it would take a modern masterpiece to produce something greater, just something better than the typical corporate box. I would take Bloomberg Tower over the Hotel Penn any day.

    I think the Hotel Penn by itself is hulking and dreary and I don't think a renovation could fix that. The only reason I'd be up for keeping it is how it nicely continues the street wall on all frontages and how it's very much a part of the Gotham feel of the area. This character is anything but uplifting however...it's no coincidence that the neighborhood is less than desirable.

    I'm only disturbed by Vornado targeting this site first when there are all these parking lots and crappy buildings nearby. Apparently the attraction to developing a tower here would be that it's the first building you see when you step out of Penn Station on 7th Ave.

  14. #1079

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Why "of course?"

    Even in its neglected condition, the hotel makes a heap of money - so it's not a burden on the city or its owner.

    If your argument is that more money can be realized by redeveloping the site - we can make the same argument for any building in the city.

    And to make the ESB example more relevant: If preservation efforts weren't non-existent as they were in the 1920's, and a call went out to save the Waldorf - would there have been other places to build the ESB?
    I was talking about the 34th and 7th site, not the HP site.

    And if something of little architectural or historical significance can be torn down in order to reap more money, I'm all for it. And that's what's happening here.

    Would there have been other places? It depends on what was available to those building the ESB. Waldorf-Astoria was obviously the most viable site, and it's a good thing they didn't cancel the ESB just to save the old Waldorf-Astoria, I'd say.

  15. #1080

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    Yankees12, your whole argument is based upon the assumption that the new building would be something special. You can see from the rendering it will absolutely not be. The ESB is a 1 in a million building. The new building will be 999,999 in a million. It could be used by KPF in Shanghai or Beijing and no one would know any different. The city needs buildings like Hotel Penn to stay NY.

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