Like so many developments these days, the fate of Extell's proposed Park Avenue condo tower at East 85th Street rests with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Last September, it was reported that the Park Avenue Christian Church sold its rectory and parish house to the developer, who then filed plans to replace the structures with a 210-foot-tall condo building that would cantilever over the 1911 church. That didn't go over well, and Extell drafted new plans without any cantilevering craziness. Even still, the LPC is considering whether or not they will turn the area into a historic district. And, according to the Journal, a key point will be the style of the church's rectory. If the LPC determines it to be "Gothic Revival," like the church, the building would be "considered as a building that contributed to the historic district," thus protecting it from demolition. If the style is something else or they decide it has "no style," then Extell will be able to more easily knock it down.
A land-use lawyer at Kramer Levin, which represents the church, told the Journal, "We think it should be determined to be a 'no-style' building because what is there today is essentially a 1960s construction that doesn't have any historic integrity." But preservationists in the neighborhood are calling bullshit. They know that the church is financially struggling and argue that it "has a self-interest here in looking for little loopholes." One opponent claims that the church has kept scaffolding up around the rectory for for months just to hide it so it's style connection to the church is not obvious. The LPC will consider the church's style today when they vote on establishing a historic district.
· Style Point Could Sink Tower [WSJ]
· New Extell Condo Could Cantilever Over Historic UES Church [Curbed]