The owners of 807 Park Avenue finally notched a win in their quest to redevelop a heavily modified 1899 building in the Upper East Side Historic District. Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved an application from owners Aion Partners and PBDW Architects that will incorporate the original five-story tenement building but demolish and replace the seven-story addition. The existing 12-story shebang, it must be noted, formerly served as Puff Daddy's personal mansion.The approval comes after several meetings in which the applicants tried to convince the commissioners that the original tenement structure was not worth preserving, which spurred a long debate by the LPC on whether or not demolition was appropriate. Many of the commissioners wanted to see the original building fragment retainedhence the latest compromise.
For some background, the original five-story tenement went up 1899, and somewhere between 1980 and 1983 the addition was added and some of the original facade was altered. Even more changes were made after music mogul Sean "P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Diddy" Combs purchased the property in 1999 for $12 million and turned it into his own mega-townhouse. Aion then purchased the structure from P. Daddy for $14.3 million in 2005 and reconfigured it into four-story condos. The condos failed to sell, or rent, which is when Aion came up for the proposal for demolition. It's got some history.
This new proposal steps back from the full demolition and will significantly incorporate the tenement building into the new design. The original brick building fragment will remain, with new construction above it that includes limestone, brick, and stucco. The 12-story height will be maintained, but the ceiling heights will be taller, slightly raising the building's overall height. The first floorwhich was also altered throughout the yearswill be significantly renovated, with a new cornice and new limestone. And the 12th floor will be distinguished by large glass windows, doors and French balconies. (No question about it: these will be condos.)
The commission was appreciative of the attempt to retain the building fragment. LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called the proposal "respectful," saying it had "drawn from the proportions of the fragment but used it in a contemporary manner." Commissioner Frederick Bland called this "an interesting challenge for the architects and the commission." He praised what he called a "pluralistic approach" to blend the historic and the new. "A fragment can become part of a whole," he said. His final words on the matter: "I can live with this."
The commission voted to approve the application, specifically noting the retention of the first five floors.
· Landmarks Blocks Demolition of P. Diddy's Former Townhouse [Curbed]
· All 807 Park Avenue coverage [Curbed]