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Russian Billionaire's UES Megamansion Plan Doesn't Pass Muster With Landmarks

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Roman Abramovich's Upper East Side dream home hits another roadblock

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's plan to combine three townhouses in the Upper East Side Historic District on East 75th Street into one massive private residence came in front of the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday and, as expected, the LPC was none too pleased with it.

The plan presented to the LPC sought to combine the 1880's townhouses at 11-15 East 75th Street into one house by knocking down party walls and unifying the look of the facade. But the LPC rallied against the plan's treatment of the facade of no. 11, a half-renovated townhouse whose original Queen Anne facade was redesigned in the neo-Federal style by Henry Polhemus in 1923, YIMBY reports.

It's hard to argue that the disparate townhouses look better as-is, with no. 11 sporting a half-complete renovation that kicked off in 2012 and was abandoned sometime thereafter. But LPC commissioner Michael Goldblum disapproved of the "conjectured reconstruction" of number 11 in the Queen Anne style. Other commissioners followed suit, questioning the megamansion facade's uniformity over its historic authenticity. Ah, the LPC.

Somewhat amazingly, the LPC was downright chill with architect Stephen Wang's plan to reconstruct the rear of the three townhouses in glass and bronze.

Ultimately, the LPC sent Wang, preservation consultant Ronda Wist of Wist Preservation Associates, and Herzog & de Meuron, who are also working on the project, back to the drawing board after declaring no action. Should Abramovich seek to move forward, the reformed proposal will come in front of the LPC again. But if it's just an Upper East Side megamansion he seeks, we know one that might work.

Architect Stephen Wang issued the following statement after the meeting: