The latest news on New York architecture.

  • LPC approves new mix-used condo in Chelsea

    Jeremiah Budin reports for Curbed: Landmarks Loves BKSK's Redesigned 130 Seventh Ave. South.

    It's been a rocky road to Landmarks approval for mixed-use condo development 130 Seventh Avenue South, but after two redesigns the Commission finally signed off on the building yesterday, and did so with unanimous enthusiasm. "I cannot imagine a better building for this site," said Commissioner Michael Devonshire. "As a New Yorker, I thank you for this building." The Commission had ripped apart the original proposal for the site from architect Peter Samton, comparing it to "an industrial loft that has been added to in the '80s." Samton was subsequently replaced by BKSK Architects, whose new design was not quite as loathed by the LPC, but still deemed to be too tall and too glassy.

    However, BKSK's revised design, which they presented yesterday, won over the Commission completely. Lowered by one floor, with a façade of brick and brownstone masonry interwoven with glass and intermittent metal fins and increased detail on the side walls (which are very visible due to the odd shape of the lot), the new building was declared "thrilling" by Commissioner Fred Bland and approved unanimously. The project is being developed by Erez Itzhaki and Continental Ventures.  

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  • Possibility of LPC review for any building older than 50 years

    Joe Anuta reports for Crain's: Manhattan boro prez seeks more landmarks.

    Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer plans to introduce legislation that would require the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider any building older than 50 years for review, whenever a developer files permits to demolish it, she announced Friday.

    The proposed legislation would require the commission to take 30 days for public review before deciding whether or not to consider a building for landmark status. Separately, it would also codify a provision that prohibits owners of buildings under consideration for such protected status from gaining demolition permits. Ms. Brewer announced the legislation at a news conference along West 57 Street, where developers are currently building some of the city’s tallest towers, including Extell Development’s One57 and JDS Development’s super-thin tower nearby. In the past, many leading landlords have opposed the unbridled expansion of the number of designated landmarks in the city as stifling needed new development in favor of preserving old buildings they claim are of questionable aesthetic or historical value.

    In addition to announcing her proposed legislation, Ms. Brewer also called on the commission to study buildings along West 57th Street after the five-story Rizzoli building, built in the 1920s, and passed over twice by the commission for landmark status. According to the beep's office, that property is now slated for alterations. "We are here today to ask that the LPC immediately study those remaining buildings on West 57th Street to identify and landmark those that represent the best of their eras," Ms. Brewer said. But it is unclear how the commission will act under the de Blasio administration, which has yet to name a new chair for the commission, though as Crain’s previously reported, the mayor is coming narrowing his focus.

    The body, which has the power to freeze development by putting a property on its calendar, has long been a contentious topic in the city between developers and preservationists. But that age-old rivalry took on extra urgency after the Real Estate Board of New York released a study in September showing virtually no new affordable units had been built in landmarked districts, which cover 30% of Manhattan, over the past decade. Preservations contend that those same districts have preserved rent-regulated units.

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