Developer HFZ Capital picked up the iconic Chatsworth apartments at 340 West 72nd Street for a cool $150 million in 2012 and announced plans for a penthouse addition in October. Yesterday, representatives for the developer shared with the Landmarks Preservation Commission the plans by Montroy Anderson Demarco for two new floors atop the main building of the 1904 Beaux Arts structure and one extra floor on its annex building next door. But the team pushing for the rooftop additions, an external facelift for the façade, 24 new windows, and extra entrances could only sit and watch in silence as a dozen community members and preservation advocates bashed the design and representatives for three elected officials registered their bosses' disapproval. The commissioners pointed out that it's even more difficult to get approval for work on an individually landmarked building. "That really says to me that we need to scrutinize any changes more carefully," said Commissioner Elizabeth Ryan of that designation.
William Higgins of Higgins Quasebarth & Partners ended his short presentation on behalf of HFZ by expressing the developer's willingness to make changes to the proposal. The dissenters gave him plenty of input, though all of them thanked the development team for pledging improvements to the crumbling front of the 12-story apartment building. Community members pointed out the visibility of the extensions from various angles on the ground and decried the new entrances as non-handicapped accessible passageways for the luxury renters sure to swarm the development after its rent-controlled occupants depart. Longtime resident Candace Burnett compared the rooftop additions to "topping the head and crown of Lady Liberty with a VIP observation deck."
State Senator Jose M. Serrano, state Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer piled on the complaints with letters of opposition to the proposal. "The two rooftop additions are contextually inappropriate and do not retain the character of the building or the historic district in which the buildings are located," Brewer wrote to Chairman Robert Tierney.
Tierney pronounced himself "very skeptical" of the plans and indicated there would be another public hearing on the proposal in the coming weeks and two weeks for additional written testimony. Although there were no significant changes to the plan after the community board rejected parts of it, there will likely be major ones before the next meeting.
· Chatsworth's Proposed Rooftop Addition Is Sure To Rankle UWS [Curbed]
· All Chatsworth coverage [Curbed]