WHEREAS, 597 5th Avenue (former Scribner's and Sons bookstore) has been an individual NYC Landmark since 1982 and the interior was also designated a landmark in 1989; and
WHEREAS, The building was designed by the noted Beaux Arts American architect, Ernest Flagg, and was built in 1912-13; and
WHEREAS, Scribner's was in operation for 75 years as a bookstore until it closed in 1989, and was considered by many as Fifth Avenue's most elegant bookstore; and
WHEREAS, The space later became the main Manhattan location for the Benetton company, and currently is leased until 2013 as a Sephora skin care store, and
WHEREAS, Most of the interior architectural elements have remained intact over the years with the notable exception of furnishings and details at the rear, or easterly end of the store, which were removed or replaced over time, leaving the entire interior area at the rear without any of the original elements including a large tripartite bookcase, a picture rail and lounge space; and
WHEREAS, The building's current owners, Thor Equities, also owns 3 east 48th Street, a contiguous building on a separate tax lot, and would like to expand 597 5th Avenue into that building which would provide additional retail space by constructing six openings, 3 on each of the two levels, through the east wall of 597 5th Avenue which is now void of any of the original architectural details; and
WHEREAS, All of the proposed alterations are reversible should the two buildings not continue under the same ownership; and
WHEREAS, The proposed redesign would restore a central tripartite millwork architrave in the style of the original bookcase as the focus of the upper mezzanine and would recreate the separate character of the upper mezzanine with its picture rail molding and two tone wall color; the lower mezzanine would have the character of the clerical support space that is thought to be the original use; and
WHEREAS, One of the objectives of the openings in the upper mezzanine is to make the space less likely to be overrun by merchandise or obstructed by showcases since it would be used by people circulating in and out of the connected space, improving the appearance and sight lines of the interior landmark; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application for alterations to the east wall of the ground floor and mezzanine interior space at 597 5th Avenue (former Scribner's and Sons bookstore).
The above resolution passed 597 5th Avenue (former Scribner's and Sons bookstore) Application for alterations to the east wall of the ground floor and mezzanine interior space.