Last year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission successfully fulfilled their promise to clear out its overburdened backlog of sites that had been awaiting consideration for decades. The huge undertaking resulted in more than 40 new city landmarks but one site owner doesn’t want the landmark status that’s been bestowed upon his property.
According to DNAinfo, Xavier Eikerenkoetter, president of the United Palace Theater at 4140 Broadway in Washington Heights, is attempting to have the recent decision to landmark the theater overturned. The theater, which first came up for LPC consideration in 1970, was finally granted protection status in December 2016, but Eikerenkoetter says that the decision was made without his input or consideration.
Eikerenkoetter purchased the Hindu-Islamic style theater almost 50 years ago and went on to restore it, saving the dilapidated theater from demolition. In 2015, Councilman Ydanis Rodrigues supported making the theater a landmark, however in 2016, he changed his mind, stating that there were other buildings in Washington Heights worthy of being designated though he’d be interested in hearing what the owners had planned for the building.
Eikerenkoetter has stated that he is willing to work with the community to find other ways to preserve United Palace and guarantees that it will not be demolished under their watch.
It’s now up to City Council to determine if they will overturn the designation, modify it, or leave it as-is.