Last week, in a rare instance of politics overtly meddling with historic preservation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 6-3 to designate the former B.F. Goodrich building at 1780 Broadway a landmark, but not its sister building around the corner, 225 West 57th Street. The LPC backed down after Extell, the developer that wants to demolish the 57th Street building (it's already shrouded) and construct a 50-story mixed-use tower in its place, enlisted some members of the City Council to campaign on its behalf?the implication being that if the LPC landmarked the property and jeopardized the project, than a City Council veto would be in the cards. The Times's Robin Pogrebin follows up on all this madness, and surprise, some folks are unhappy with what went down!
Commission member Christopher Moore is particuarly perturbed about the City Council messing in his business, and the way some of his fellow commissioners caved in:
"To me, it's embarrassingly transparent: 'We're not going to do this because the City Council has already notified us they're going to veto it.' We let the world know. The friction between the commission and its role and the City Council and its role needs to be exposed. My request is we don't do this again."But can't landmarking one building and not the other be seen as a good compromise that preserves history (the buildings look alike, after all) while still spurring development and its economic benefits? That's how some, including Extell's Gary Barnett, are playing it. Said Dan Garodnick, one of the council members who opposed the landmarking, "No one complains when the City Council speaks in favor of a building." Testy! Maybe he was in a bad mood because he know the NYT would points out that three of the four councilmembers who spoke out on behalf of Extell received campaign contributions from the developer.
· City Council Influences Landmarks Decision [NYT]
· 225 West 57th Street coverage [Curbed]