LPC Rules 6-5 To Approve 14-16 Fifth Avenue Demolition and New (Shorter) Tower

In a highly unusual split vote decided by the Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair, on Tuesday the LPC voted by the slimmest of margins to approve demolition of the historic, landmarked 170+-year-old building at 14-16 Fifth Avenue and replace it with a 213-ft-tall tower. This was incredibly disappointing given the clearly established historic significance of this building (demolition of not-historically significant buildings within historic districts is allowed), the troubling precedent allowing its demolition would set, and the outpouring of support for saving the building from thousands of New Yorkers, prominent scholars and writers, and Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

The original proposed 367-ft-tall tower (left); the final, approved 213-ft-tall tower (right).

We’re deeply grateful for the support from five of eleven members of the Commission, who passionately opposed demolition, and can take pride in the fact that our collective efforts resulted in several substantial reductions in the oversized height of the building, from the original 367 ft to the final 213 ft — a 42% decrease. But there can be no excusing the Commission’s decision to approve the erasure of history, as well as the demolition of 20 units of housing for longtime residents, half of which were affordable rent regulated units, to be replaced by a high rise pier-a-terre for the super rich with fewer units of housing than the modest but historic building that will be replaced by a developer with a less-than-stellar track record.

Read press coverage here and here.

May 13, 2021