APPLICATION # (M 78054A ZSM) FOR A MODIFICATION TO AN EXISTING ARCADE AT 55 EAST 52ND STREET)
At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, January 16, 2014, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 27 in favor, 0 opposed, 1abstaining:
WHEREAS, Park Avenue Plaza Owner LLC has applied for a modification of a previously approved special permit for a Through Block Arcade on the ground floor of a 42 story commercial building at 55 East 52nd Street; and
WHEREAS, The requested actions are sought in connection with the renovation of an approximately thirty-year-old building; and
WHEREAS, The proposed renovation will modernize the building, upgrading the arcade – a privately owned public space; and
WHEREAS, The site is located on a block bounded by East 53rd Street to the north, East 52nd Street to the south, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue; and
WHEREAS, Park Avenue Plaza is located on a merged zoning lot that includes three buildings on three tax lots as follows: Park Avenue Plaza (Lot 27) occupies 38,322 square feet of lot area and is the site of the proposed changes; the other two existing buildings—a five story landmarked commercial building known as the "Racquet Club Building" (360 Park Avenue; Block 1288, Lot 71) and a six-story commercial building (49-51 E. 52nd Street; Block 1288, Lot 24)—occupy 20,083 sf and 7,529 sf of lot area, respectively; and
WHEREAS, The Arcade occupies 13,000 sf of Park Avenue Plaza's ground floor and is enclosed on both ends, extending 200' in length between E. 52nd and E. 53rd Streets, measuring 96'10" wide at its widest points and 50'10" at its middle section; and
WHEREAS, The Arcade is accessed from E. 52nd and E. 53rd Streets by six sets of revolving doors and the Arcade's interior is 30' in height, with a 8,543 sf mezzanine level (that is open to the same interior volume as the Arcade, but does not count towards its area) sitting above the Arcade's western flank; and
WHEREAS, The Arcade contains 136 chairs and 34 tables which are stacked along its eastern edge with approximately half of the chairs and tables clustered in a 20'1" x 50' area bookended by the retail kiosks to the north and south, and separated from the circulation corridor to its immediate west by a 46' x 36" x 28" planter containing seasonal plantings; and
WHEREAS, Four additional in-ground planters occupying 1,225 sf and containing 16 ficus trees are located towards the Arcade's northern and southern extremities; and
WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing to make a number of critical improvements, which include:
1. To make the Arcade more inviting to pedestrians, four new 24" x 18" POPs placards will be placed on the Arcade's exterior façade, adjacent to each set of revolving doors.
2. The two existing retail kiosks, as seen on TBA-01, impair visibility and impede pedestrian traffic. In the proposed design, they will be consolidated into a single kiosk and relocated to the southeast corner of the Arcade. The kiosk will be a café in the proposed conditions.
3. Renovate the Arcade's east wall;
4. Expand and upgrade seating options and add additional tables;
5. Add art walls and installations;
6. Upgrade and expand the variety of greenery;
7. Remodel the public restrooms to be ADA-compliant; and
8. Modernize the lighting scheme; and
WHEREAS, The arcade is proposed to be open daily from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM; and
WHEREAS, The modifications proposed in this application will make significant improvements to the design and public experience of the arcade; therefore be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the re-design of the privately owned public space at 52 East 52nd Street as proposed by Park Avenue Plaza Owner LLC.