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500 Fifth Avenue Building - 500-506 5th Avenue aka 1-9 West 42nd Street - Proposed Designation

WHEREAS, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission ("LPC") has notified Community Board Five ("CB5") of a Public Hearing to be held October 26, 2010 concerning the Proposed Designation of 500 Fifth Avenue, (1-9 West 42nd Street) in a letter dated October 4, 2010; and

WHEREAS, a copy this letter was made available to the Landmarks Committee of CB5 October 5, 2010, the same date as its Landmarks Committee Meeting; and

WHEREAS, this extremely late notice did not provide adequate time for members of CB5 to investigate and visit the site proposed for designation; and

WHEREAS, LPC has been repeatedly unresponsive to CB5's previous requests for postponement of hearings when the CB5 Monthly Calendar did not provide appropriate time for CB5 to perform its Advisory role pursuant to Section 25-313 of the Administrative Code of NYC; and

WHEREAS, CB5 regards its Advisory role seriously and was forced to act on this Proposed Designation with the limited information provided by LPC, a brief one page narrative including only one photograph, or be put in the position of not being heard at all by LPC; and 

WHEREAS, 500 Fifth Avenue, (1-9 West 42nd Street) was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon and was built in 1929-31 concurrently with their greatest achievement eight blocks south, the Empire State Building; and

WHEREAS, 500 Fifth Avenue is a soaring 59-story Art Deco skyscraper built on the NW corner of Fifth Avenue and West 42nd Street on site measuring 100 feet by 208 feet, to the maximum height and bulk allowable under the 1916 zoning code on two zoning lots, resulting in it having asymmetrically massed, differing setback requirements; and

WHEREAS, The building is sheathed in limestone, terra cotta and buff brick with its facades enriched with Art Deco motifs to accentuate the sculptural massing, all designed and arranged to emphasize the building's verticality; and

WHEREAS, The Architects are known for their other skyscraper designs in NYC and elsewhere including the Bankers Trust Building, 14 Wall Street, a designated NYC Landmark; and 

WHEREAS, The building has housed numerous important office and retail tenants throughout the years including the Austrian and Japanese Consulates and continues to command its prominent retail location; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, CB5 recommends approval of the Designation of 500 Fifth Avenue as a NYC Landmark.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 34 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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