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Landmarks Approves Glassy Top for Historic Seaport Building

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BKSK Architects' plan to perch a glass and steel elevator and stair bulkhead atop the 200-year-old building at 40 Peck Slip in the Seaport District won approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The commission a month ago panned the prior proposal for looking too flashy, calling it a mismatched modern top to the old building. Community Board 1 also disapproved of the plan in November. The architects had proposed a staggered setback of four and six feet for the partial extra floor, but revised the designs to push the whole thing back six feet to diminish the visual impact of the addition. The commission conceded that the building doesn't have a basement where mechanical parts for the elevator would ordinarily go, so they had to sit on the roof. "I think all of their efforts reduced [the bulkhead's] visibility and subdued its impact on the existing buildings," said commission member Margery Perlmutter. She added, "The fact that they have no basements, they have no choice."

The firm also modified other plans, including getting rid of three fire escape balconies, concluding they were unnecessary, while leaving one historic balcony. Other members said the designers sufficiently toned down the alterations so it won't pop out awkwardly in the district. The renovations are part of the Superior Officers Council's aim to move into the now-vacant building and use it as office space for that division of the NYPD. "The whole area is going to be very dynamic soon," said Michael Endall, the 2nd VP of the Captain Endowment Association. "We're excited to be part of it."
— Shannon Ayala
· All 40 Peck Slip coverage [Curbed]