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Resolution on report from SL Green on the “Harmonious relationship” between the building at One Vanderbilt Avenue (42nd to 43rd Sts., Vanderbilt to Madison Avenues) and Grand Central Terminal

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, July 10, 2014, the following resolution passed with a vote of: 28 in favor, 9 opposed, 1 abstained, 2 present not entitled to vote.

WHEREAS, SL Green is proposing to transfer unused development rights from a landmarked building located at 110 East 42nd Street, formerly known as the Bowery Savings Bank within the Grand Central Subdistrict Core to a receiving site located between 42nd & 23nd Streets, and between Madison Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue, pursuant to Section 81-63 of the Zoning Resolution, and

WHEREAS, Pursuant to Section 81-631 of the Zoning Resolution, and according to an Interim Declaration dated November 15, 2010, made by applicant, SL Green is obligated to seek a report from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), establishing the harmonious relationship between the proposed building at One Vanderbilt Avenue and Grand Central Terminal, and

WHEREAS, The current zoning allows for a maximum 21.6 FAR and SL Green is also applying for a Zoning Text change to DCP that would permit a FAR 30 building, and

WHEREAS, The proposed building submitted for review has a 30 FAR, and

WHEREAS, Grand Central Terminal's landmark and monumental design has been noted for its massive and symmetrical scale, use of rich materials, the innovative use of interior viaducts, ramps, and large expanses of glass, and daring structural design; and

WHEREAS, In comparison, the proposed One Vanderbilt reflects these same characteristics by way of:

•        The use of rich materials on the proposed building's façade, ceilings, flooring, including publicly accessible spaces

•        The use of aluminum scrims and terra cotta spandrel panels in the proposed building's curtain wall, which re-interprets the three dimensional façades of nearby historic buildings

•       Diagonal elements throughout One Vanderbilt's façade, such as those in the terra cotta spandrel panels, are seemingly paying homage to Grand Central Terminal's noteworthy ramped passageways

•        Innovative structural support systems to enable the construction of a super tall tower with a cantilevered design; and

WHEREAS, The proposed building would have a low-iron clear glass and metal base with off-white terracotta glazed tile spandrels reminiscent of Guastavino tiles used inside Grand Central Terminal, and

WHEREAS, The glass tower would taper, and reach 1300 feet, or 1375 feet with its spire, and

WHEREAS, The glass base would offer broader visibility onto the south west corner of Grand Central Terminal, and

WHEREAS, The ground floor would be open to the public and serve as a public waiting area, and

WHEREAS, The ground floor interior space would feature a vertical vegetal wall, and

WHEREAS, Concerns have been raised that the proposed building's asymmetrical façade, use of glass and cacophonous base do not relate harmoniously to the Grand Central Terminal, therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the harmoniousness report for the proposed building at One Vanderbilt, with the condition and understanding that the developer and his design and architectural team address the issues raised by Community Board Five and continue to work with Community Board Five, through a series of meetings, on a new iteration of the design to address our specific concerns.

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