Two Upper East Side residential buildings are staying right where they are, thanks to a ruling by a New York State Supreme Court judge. Judge Michael Stallman ruled against Stahl Real Estate, which had sued the Landmarks Preservation Commission over the being denied an application to demolish 429 East 64th Street and 430 East 65th Street under the hardship clause, Commercial Observer reported.
It's actually somewhat common for a property owner to ask the LPC to allow demolition of a less than wonderful building in a historic district, to make way for something much nicer. The case of the City and Suburban Homes First Avenue Estates isn't like that, as Curbed NY has been reporting for years. Constructed as a model for modern tenement living, the development dates back to 1914. It was designated a landmark in 1990, then un-designated in one of the now-defunct Board of Estimate's last decisions, and re-designated by the LPC in 2006.
That was not, apparently, before the owner, Stahl, redid the exterior in pink stucco. Still, it's an individual landmark and the there is a very high standard for the LPC to allow demolition of an individual landmark. So, Stahl asked for it, claiming hardship. Essentially, that claims the inability to make a six percent return. Stahl said it could only get $600 a month for the units. At the LPC hearing in May 2014, the commissioners, predictably, reacted with incredulity and denied the application.
Unsatsified with that, Stahl sued the LPC and Judge Stallman has denied that lawsuit, saying any hardship is self-imposed as the landlord is sitting on 100 vacant apartments and refusing to rent them.
· Judge Rules Against Stahl in UES Demolition Case Against Landmarks Commission [Commercial Observer]
· Landlord Sues for Permission to Raze Landmarked Buildings [Curbed]
· Landmarks Still Won't Let Developer Raze UES Tenements [Curbed]
· City and Suburban Homes First Avenue Estates designation report [Official]
· All Landmarks Preservation coverage [Curbed]