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Lower Manhattan's Iconic Clocktower Will Not Be Electrified

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Developers wanted to convert the clocktower portion into a penthouse

One of the city's last surviving mechanical tower clocks is here to stay. A State Supreme Court judge ruled on Thursday that the mechanical clock atop 346 Broadway, also known as the Clock Tower Building, would have to be maintained as is, despite a planned condo conversion of the building, the New York Times reports.

Developers Peebles Corporation and the El Ad Group purchased the building from the city in 2013 for $160 million and planned to convert it into luxury condos with the clocktower portion of the building serving as one penthouse. The developers wanted to maintain the clock for the most part, but instead of it being mechanically wound, they wanted to electrify it.

Preservationists and local residents were opposed to the plan, as was the city's Clock Master, Marvin Schneider, who was hired in 1980 to restore the clock, and whose team has subsequently ensured its smooth running.

So, a group led by Schneider sued the city.

Parts of the 13th and 14th floors of the building along with the clock were declared an interior landmark in the 1980s, but when the developers came before the LPC, the agency issued them a variance saying the LPC had no control over the mechanics of the clock.

But the judge was having none of it. In her decision, she excoriated the agency for not doing enough in its power to ensure the preservation of the clock.