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Nouvel's MoMA Tower Flunks First Community Test

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Economic frownies be damned, the Observer's Eliot Brown recently reported that developer Hines was pushing ahead with the public-review process for Jean Nouvel's epically awesome and epically delayed Tower Verre near the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street. Might as well fight the battles now, right? The Pritzker Prize-winning French starchitect already charmed the pants off the Landmarks Preservation Commission (the man knows how to work a slideshow!) on the way to getting the massive skyscraper approved, but angry neighbors are a whole different story.

The ULURP train's first stop was the land-use review committee of Community Board 5 (the zoning variances sought by the 82-story apartment/hotel/MoMA gallery building are explained on the committee's agenda), and given the strong feelings about the Tower Verre proposal, we knew the committee might want to make a statement. Indeed, a tipster tell us the petition was denied in a unanimous vote.

Some color: "MoMA/Hines was encouraged to design a great building scaled to fit the Special Midtown Preservation Sub District. MoMA was also encouraged to become a better neighbor than it has been." But Nouvel shouldn't cry into his Bordeaux quite yet, because the vote of the committee (and the vote of the full board, coming up June 11) is only advisory. Yep, in order to get the Tower Verre approved, Hines will have to lobby at a much higher level. Maybe Jean and Christine Quinn will do lunch.
· Tower Verre/53 West 53rd Street coverage [Curbed]

Tower Verre

53 West 53rd Street, New York, NY

53 W 53rd St

53 West 53rd Street, Manhattan, NY 10019