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Thread: AT&T's Parthenon

  1. #46


    When hearings were held last year, Levinson, who just bought the building, testified in support of landmarking for the lobby.

  2. #47


    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    The stunning lobby of AT&T's former headquarters in lower Manhattan soon will open to the public - but visitors had better like to shop.
    Uh oh, I have a queasy feeling about this.

    Commissioners said they were wowed by the owner's detailed presentation and promised to keep a close eye on fixtures and signs to make sure they don't mar the templelike space.
    How exactly do youkeep a sign from marring a space like this?

    Asked when shoppers could expect the unidentified stores to open, he said, "We're not in a hurry. It's got to be done right."
    Is that even theoretically possible?

  3. #48


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    When hearings were held last year, Levinson, who just bought the building, testified in support of landmarking for the lobby.
    Well,he's going about it the right way --if there IS a right way.

    Snow the commissioners.

    But these are the commissioners --remember-- who refused to even look at 2 Columbus Circle.

  4. #49


    Quote Originally Posted by LeCom View Post
    This is a skyscrapers forum. There are plenty of websites on the Internet that will give you a better answer to your question
    Can't be anything that requires privacy.

  5. #50
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Retail Plan Approved for a Grand Landmarked Lobby
    By Carl Glassman
    JAN.10, 2007

    ... The vote by the Commission was unanimous, with nine in favor and one abstention.

    Under Levinson’s plan, the lobby of 195 Broadway, with its 30-foot ceilings and bronze and alabaster chandeliers, will open to the public for the first time in years. It will be among only four of Downtown’s 14 landmarked interiors that the public can enter. Levinson, who bought the building in 2004 for a reported $270 million, said that putting stores in the lobby allows him to secure it for public use.

    Visitors would traverse a 20-foot-wide corridor or “galleria” running between entrances at Dey and Fulton Streets, and opening onto each of the three stores. Off of Dey Street would be a separate, private entrance and lobby for the office tenants.

    In order to create the individual spaces and maintain nearly unobstructed views of the grand interior, the proposal calls for sheer glass partitions rising 30 feet and ingeniously held in place by thin bronze cables and small plates. It is a partition system that the plan’s architect, Michael Gabellini, calls “operating at the outer limits of plausibility.”

    An interior, 135-foot-long wall of glass, running the block-long length of lobby between Dey and Fulton Streets, will define the public corridor.

    “We’ve created some budgets that are astronomical -- many millions of dollars,” Levinson said as he took a reporter on a tour of the space. The glass, he said, “is the most expensive piece.”

    The building is at the junction of the Fulton Street Transit Center and the new World Trade Center PATH terminal, due for completion in 2010.

    According to Levinson’s plans, the three stores on the ground floor would also open onto lower levels that will be traversed daily by hundreds of thousands of commuters and subway riders. Escalators and an elevator would be installed in the lobby.

    Last month, Levinson presented the plan to Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee, where it won advisory approval. But the committee worried about how the openness of the space would be preserved, and about the visual effect of merchandise and signage.

    “Those are the things that impact on the beauty of this space,” said committee member Marc Donnenfeld, “and the space right now is a sacred one.”

    Another committee member, Eric Anderson, expressed “grave concerns” over the merchandising in the space. But he voted for the plan.

    “One of the great things about the scheme,” he said, “is you will be able to go into the space -- even if there’s some stuff in there that isn’t as pristine as the original use.”

    At the LPC hearing, only one speaker, Nadezhda Williams of the Historic Districts Council, argued against the plan. In a prepared statement, Williams said that the lobby would change for the worse with the addition of glass partitions, elevators, and escalators as well as signage and merchandise.

    “The once elegant space will be turned into little more than a mall with a lot of columns,” she said.

    “What I think we have to assume is that throughout the space everything up to 10 feet will be blocked,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Ryan. “That leaves 20 feet above, plus the galleria. I hope that all the space under 10 feet isn’t blocked, but even if it is I can still easily approve this design.“

    Once tenants have been chosen for the space, they or the design team will appear once more before the Commission to seek approval for signage in the building.

    “All I want to say,” Commissioner Jan Hird Pokorny noted,” is we should send the tenants to design school.”

  6. #51
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    This is not good. 30 foot tall glass. The glass corridor extends from one side to the other. Glass is transparent, but merchandise certainly is not.

  7. #52


    So what was the point of landmarking the space?

  8. #53


    Point was: it established the developer as a good boy with good intentions. The commissioners took note.

  9. #54
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    In other words, it could all just be a ploy, right?

    Anyway, I don't mind if what they put up or put in is superficial, that is, the changes aren't permanent or irreparable.

    As we all know, occupants come and go but the building itself does not and that is what's more important.
    Last edited by antinimby; January 11th, 2007 at 09:32 PM.

  10. #55
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    We could use more of this.

  11. #56
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Developers Closing in on Reopening Landmark Former AT&T Lobby

    By Matt Dunning

    It has been nearly 30 years since the owners of 195 Broadway have allowed everyday folks to walk among the grove of imposing, burnished marble columns inside their Lower Manhattan building’s landmark lobby.

    Built in 1916 as the headquarters of AT&T, the 29-story building’s yawning, gilded ground floor space was once a hive of commercial and retail activity, with several small vendors tucked into its corners and a service desk for AT&T customers. But it has been closed to the public since 1983, when the telephone giant moved its wares to midtown. The building’s current owners, L&L Holding Co., intend to draw people—and their shopping dollars—back to the lobby by outfitting it with a small lineup of high-end retail operators.

    Earlier this week, the company’s team of architects and preservation consultants presented the latest batch of changes they’d like to make to the lobby to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    “This once-vibrant lobby has become dormant and devoid of the very activity it was conceived to host,” said project architect Michael Gabellini.

    The cavernous lobby, with its 30-foot-high ceilings and bronze-and-alabaster chandeliers, is really a landmark within a landmark. Both the great hall and the building itself were given protection under the city’s historic preservation laws in 2006. The following year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the first set of changes—ceiling-height glass partitions and escalators, as well as renovations for the adjoining lobby servicing the office tenants on the building’s upper floors—the ownership group plans to implement in the lobby in order to convert it to a retail galleria.

    On Jan. 18, the group returned to the Commission for a second round of proposed changes to the lobby, including the establishment of a “master plan” intended to guide the aesthetic choices available to a maximum of three retail tenants, which Gabellini said could range from jewelers and restaurants to upscale clothing and accessory lines.

    “In short, the purpose here is to revitalize this historic space,” Gabellini said. “Whatever it is that we do here is firmly rooted in the past.”

    The “master plan” consisted of 11-foot, sheer cloth banners hanging above window display boxes along the perimeter of the building and illuminated cloth box signs dangling above the sidewalk-facing store entrances, as well as small bronze-and-glass signs mounted to the tops of the exterior doorways and window bays—for a grand total of 14 banners and four illuminated boxes. The tenants themselves would ultimately determine exactly what color, image and wording could appear on the banners and box signs, Gabellini said.

    Inside the lobby, the group proposed bisecting the public space with a glass-walled promenade stretching from an entrance on Dey Street to a matching one on Fulton, lined with entries and window displays—also to be outfitted with bronze-and-glass signage—for the divided retail spaces. Narrow tracts of small, adjustable spotlights would be installed in the non-decorative plaster sections of the hall’s ceiling.

    A high-end restaurant could be among the tenants selected
    to occupy the renovated lobby of 195 Broadway, formerly the
    headquarters of AT&T.

    The developers also proposed a significant change to their previously approved set of alterations to the lobby. The escalators that the Commission reluctantly approved in 2007—when it was though that the retail spaces would extend belowground by as many as three stories—have been eliminated in favor of a menu of fixed staircases from which tenants could choose the design best matching their décor. Gabellini said the escalators were no longer necessary because his latest design calls for just one underground floor for retail.

    An interior link to the concourse connecting the Fulton Street Transit Center and the World Trade Center transportation hub, which will run underneath 195 Broadway, had also been part of the developers original plans for the lobby in 2007. A spokesman for the MTA, which is building both the Fulton Transit Center and the underground concourse, said the link might still be possible, but that the agency has had little contact with the developers since last year.

    Following the developers’ hour-long presentation, members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission were generally supportive of the proposal, but expressed reservations about the multiple staircase options and the proliferation of the cloth signage around the building’s perimeter, echoing comments made by Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee the week prior.

    “I think this is an incredibly sensitive approach to repurposing a gorgeous interior space, and being so careful about every existing architectural element,” commission Margery Perlmutter said. “I do wish that they’d just pick one staircase and run with it.”

    “There’s nothing that’s particularly wrong with it, bit there is a little too much signage,” commissioner Frederick Bland said. “The use of the [materials] is beautiful and brilliant, and a good solution. I just think there’s a little too much of it.”

    Gabellini said he and the other designers would work with Landmarks Preservation staff to fine tune elements of the design.

    “It’s all going in the right direction,” commissioner Joan Gerner said, noting that she was one of the few remaining commissioners from the 2007 panel that approved the developers’ original application. “The space really needs to have a new life. I see a lot of positive things in this.”

  12. #57


    Just found this article where AT&T was considering giving the statue back to NYC. Unfortunately they reneged the offer, but can't believe groups were rejecting the offer.

    I think the statue would make a good fit in Battery Park where the soon to be relocated WTC Sphere sits now. A sculpture works well in that space, visitors will see the golden boy, before they approach their view of Lady Liberty.

    AT&T Statue to Remain Suburban
    Published: April 20, 2000

    Anyone want to seriously pursue this?

  13. #58


    If it doesn't happen, it's because that idea makes too much sense.

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