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500 Fifth Avenue, application by a retail tenant for a Certificate of Appropriateness for a new storefront and signage to the exterior landmarks designated in 2010

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, June 12, 2014, the following resolution passed with a vote of: 30 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstained.

WHEREAS, 500 Fifth Avenue, located on the Northwest corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, was constructed in 1929-31 by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates, concurrently with their Empire State Building specializing in skyscraper design; and

WHEREAS, The building is 59 stories tall, in the Art deco / Art Modern style, designed to the maximum height & bulk allowable under 1916 zoning code with multiple setbacks and light court, sheathed in limestone, terra cotta, and buff brick and the facades are enriched with carefully scaled Art Deco motifs; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant, retailer Zara, wishes to replace the storefronts on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street as well as the windows on the 2nd and 3rd floor; and,

WHEREAS, The original stone and decorative art deco colored metal spandrel panels to remain on 2nd and 3rd floors as well as including a louver for ventilation on the 3rd floor on the 42nd St façade; and

WHEREAS, The storefronts will consist of custom metal mullions with bronze finish & clear glazing, with granite base, and metal curtain 18" behind the glass which are harmonious with the original architectural fabric; and

WHEREAS, The sign band consisting of 6 ¼" high x 3'-6" long white translucent letters on aluminum frame with bronze finish will be internally illuminated with LED light fixture; and

WHEREAS, There is no proposed change to the building's limestone and black granite main entrance on 5th Avenue, which is stylized with gilded palmettos & capped in allegorical relief by sculpture by Edmond Amateis; and

WHEREAS, This design will become the Master Plan for the remaining retail storefronts and windows up to and including the 4th floor; and 

WHEREAS, The applicant has revised their design to address committees previous comments and worked with the LPC Staff to incorporate their comments; and

WHEREAS, Although concerns were expressed that automated sliding double doors are not historically accurate, the applicant had a history of problems caused by the stack-effect created by vestibules which led to problems with door closing and its hardware they felt sliding doors are the most feasible technical option; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness for 500 Fifth Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

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