The third date came lightning quick for Vornado and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and this time the developer finally scored. Vornado had been shot down just last week on its plan to renovate the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company building at 510 Fifth Avenue, but yesterday the commissioners anointed the proposed alterations with unanimous approval, clearing the way for Canadian retailer Joe Fresh to move in soon. Vornado supported the landmarking of the Gordon Bunshaft-designed building's interior, but plans to add new entrances on Fifth Avenue, insert a zig-zagging demising wall, demolish and reconfigure the mezzanine and reposition the signature escalators previously drew the ire of the commissioners. One might think that the development team would rethink the plan to win over the naysayers, but some of those pushing for preservation were absent for Passover, and barely a peep of opposition was heard.
The architects at SOM conceded nary an inch of their design, pleading necessity based on the commercial desires of Vornado and Canada Joe. They won over the commissioners in attendance by focusing on restoration. A fresh strip of black at the bottom of the new doorways will be added to match the original black granite along the base. Black spandrels lining the second floor, a series of panels that have suffered over the years and are now in need of some restorative love, will get just that. And the cherries on top were some zinc strips, inspired by the originals, that will be inlaid into the terrazzo floor. The commissioners ate it up, declaring that even Gordon Bunshaft himself would have reason to be proud of SOM's inventive acts of renovation. The approval paves the way for Joe Fresh's big emporium, where stylin' jeans should be available behind glass sometime this fall.
· 510 Fifth Avenue coverage [Curbed]