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News November 2018

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Efforts to save 270 Park Ave continue as firm is announced to design new building

November 23, 2018

JPMorgan Chase have signaled their intent to move ahead with plans to demolish their headquarters at 270 Park Avenue, an important midcentury building designed by pioneering woman architect Natalie de Blois and Gordon Bunshaft both of SOM. On September 6, JPMorgan Chase filed for a transfer of development rights with the Department of City Planning, which would allow them to purchase development rights from Grand Central Terminal. This was followed by the purchase of air rights above St. Patrick’s Cathedral and in early in October those above St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church. Earlier this month Chase announced Foster + Partners as the firm chosen to design the new building.

News of 270 Park Avenue’s demise originally broke in February, on the heels of the Midtown East rezoning. It was the manifestation of what many preservationists and others had predicted would result from the rezoning efforts. Outcry was quick. DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State issued a joint letter of response with DOCOMOMO US to LPC Commissioner at the time Meenakshi Srinivasan. Unfortunately, although the LPC determined it a priority for listing almost five years ago, 270 Park Avenue, along with a number of other significant Modern buildings, have yet to be landmarked. The group Save 270 Park is urging citizens to write or call NYC council member Keith Powers, as well as to sign their online petition to the LPC and Mayor de Blasio.

In addition to being one of Midtown’s great examples of Modern architecture, which architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable called at the time a “post-war miracle” and “a work of art,” many are lamenting the possible loss of one of the few large-scale projects from the period designed by a woman architect. If the plan goes through, it will also have the unfortunate distinction of being the tallest building ever demolished. Stay tuned for future updates and calls for action from the preservation community.

To contact Council member Keith Powers:
211 E. 43 Street, Suite 1205
New York, NY 10017
212-818-0580
KPowers@council.nyc.gov

Sign the online petition

“JPMorgan files for air-rights transfer to boost new Midtown East tower,” Crain’s New York, September 24, 2018. https://www.crainsnewyork.com/real-estate/jpmorgan-files-air-rights-transfer-boost-new-midtown-east-tower

“Historic midtown N.Y.C. church to transfer air rights to JPMorgan,” October 3, 2018. https://archpaper.com/2018/10/st-barts-church-air-rights-jpmorganchase/

“Foster + Partners will design Union Carbide building’s replacement,” curbed.com, November 2, 2018.
https://ny.curbed.com/2018/10/31/18049812/270-park-avenue-foster-partners-chase-union-carbide

Union Carbide Building at 270 Park Ave in 1961. Photo: Ezra Stoller/ESTO.
Photo: Nina Rappaport.