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News March 2011

Manufacturers Trust Company Round Two

March 14, 2011

On Tuesday March 15 the NYC Landmarks Commission will hear testimony on the proposed alterations to the Manufacturers Trust Company Building, a designated landmark that as of February 15, 2010 received interior designation as well. At the Certificate of Appropriateness hearing Vornado Realty Trust, the current owner, along with its architect Skidmore Owings & Merrill, will present plans for converting the first and second floor spaces to retail use. The reuse plan has many admirable elements, but some worrisome ones as well. Changes to the composition and transparency of the Fifth Avenue facade and loss of key elements—the 43rd Street entrance vestibule and the sleek side-by-side escalators—stand out as particularly detrimental to the concept of the original design. Read DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State’s full testimony letter.

POST HEARING UPDATE
At the hearing nine speakers read testimony opposing at least some primary aspects of Vornado’s proposal. Community Board 5 submitted a letter indicating its basic suport. The hearing was closed after the public testimony and comments and discussion among the commissioners. The LPC will discuss Vornado’s proposal further internally, possibly asking for revisions, and announce its decision at a public meeting, date to be determined.

 

photo: Ezra Stoller © Esto