Proposed East Midtown Rezoning
Update: The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to calendar 12 buildings in East Midtown
The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted on May 10, 2016 to calendar 7 buildings in East Midtown, bringing the total number of calendared properties in the area to 12. The other 5 buildings were calendared in 2013, after the city unveiled its plan to rezone the neighborhood to encourage the construction of taller office buildings. The LPC identified three eras of significance for East Midtown, all anchored by the presence of Grand Central Terminal. The 12 buildings were divided into three categories: “Pre-Grand Central Terminal”, “Terminal City” and “Post-Grand Central Terminal”.
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srivivasan announced that the 5 previously calendared buildings (Pershing Square Building, Graybar Building, Shelton Hotel, Beverly Hotel and Hotel Lexington) will be heard on July 19, 2016.
HDC is pleased that the LPC has acted to recognize some of the important buildings in this area prior to any city action that might place additional development pressures on structures currently built to their allowable bulk. This is a good model for how planning should work in this historic metropolis. We are very disappointed, however, by the seeming disregard the agency has for the area’s non-designated Midcentury Modern office buildings. There are several in the area of exceptional quality – and New York City’s architectural patrimony would be better served if the LPC became involved in their stewardship and preservation.
Click here to view the 12 calendared buildings
On November 12, 2013 City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council member Dan Garodnick announced that they would not support the current rezoning proposal for Midtown East. After the joint announcement the Bloomberg Administration withdrew the East Midtown Rezoning proposal. As a result the proposal will go through a more through review and the many questions surrounding the rezoning will hopefully be filtered out. For more information about see our blog post
The Landmarks Preservation Commission released their own list of 31 buildings that are eligible for individual landmark status. HDC along with the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the Municipal Arts Society proudly support this list. To read the letter sent to the LPC Chair Robert Tierney click here. The map below reflects the new list of 31 buildings.
Historic Districts Council Identifies 33 Potential Landmark Buildings in East Midtown Rezoning Proposal
Click here to view the gallery of buildings.
Click here to view full map
As the New York City Department of City Planning moves forward in the coming months with its proposal to rezone a large section of East Midtown to encourage taller buildings, the Historic Districts Council has compiled a list of significant buildings in the area that could be endangered by the rezoning. The Historic Districts Council is the citywide advocate for New York City’s historic districts and buildings meriting preservation.
“As New York’s most prominent business district, East Midtown is home to many significant commercial buildings,” according to Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council. “While there is certainly room for exciting and needed new development in the area, it is important to consider the numerous unprotected buildings of architectural and historic significance in order to preserve the essential character and history of the district,” said Bankoff.
In fall 2012, the Historic Districts Council surveyed the entire area proposed for rezoning to identify East Midtown’s architecturally and historically significant buildings worthy of consideration for landmark status. The survey tours were led by members of the Board of Directors of the Historic Districts Council, architects and architectural historians and attended by representatives of Manhattan’s Community Board 5, who contributed invaluable knowledge about buildings at risk. The result was a list of almost 80 significant buildings for City Planning to consider as part of its environmental review of the project. Historic Districts Council has further refined the list to 33 buildings worthy of New York City Individual Landmark designation, and has prepared official Requests for Evaluation to be submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for each of these 33 buildings.
The buildings represent the area’s rich range of architecture: remaining 19th and early 20th century buildings that recall the residential, pre-Grand Central days of the area, hotels and office buildings that rose around Grand Central soon after its completion in 1913, and post-World War II modernist office buildings that helped solidify the district’s status as one of the world’s premier business addresses. “Together they tell the story of a transformative period in New York City history,” according to Françoise Bollack, a New York City architect and President of the Historic Districts Council.
The extent to which the East Midtown Rezoning proposal would increase the density of central Manhattan is illustrated in a map of the area created by the Historic Districts Council. Proposed rezoning boundaries are overlaid on the map of existing and proposed landmarks. The map shows that a majority of the proposed rezoning area would be unchallenged for development. Thumbnail photographs accompanying the map show the 33 buildings that the Historic Districts Council is proposing for landmark protection, with their address, date of construction, architect, and built and proposed FARs. For a complete list of identified buildings including images and descriptions, go to http://hdc.org/hdc-across-nyc/manhattan/proposed-east-midtown-rezoning-proposed-individual-landmarks.