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204 5th Avenue application for rooftop addition and bulkhead

WHEREAS, 204 5th Avenue is a 1913 Beaux-Arts style building designed by Charles P.H. Gilbert, located between 25th and 26th Streets, with frontage on Broadway, in the Madison Square North Historic District; and

WHEREAS, The building is described as an “impressive three-story limestone-fronted building [that] features a pedimented entry, surmounted by a monumental double-height arch and balustrade” in the Madison Square North Historic District designation report; and

WHEREAS, The applicant, Porcelanosa, a high end tile company, is the owner of the adjacent building at 202 Fifth Avenue where they operate their US flagship showroom; and

WHEREAS, The applicant has recently purchased the application site and is planning to combine both buildings to enlarge their showroom; and

WHEREAS, The application proposes adding a two-story 28 ft tall rooftop addition of occupiable space to 204 Fifth Avenue [the”Addition”] raising the height of the building by approximately 50%, and

WHEREAS, The application also proposes a new 2 level 20 ft tall bulkhead that would rise above the addition, in order to accommodate an elevator vestibule to a new rooftop created on top of the proposed addition; and

WHEREAS, The proposed addition would be clad with limestone colored tiles and the bulkheads would be clad in GFRC materials, materials that are different from the materials used on the building; and

WHEREAS, The very modern Addition presents strong, curvilinear lines that are asymmetrical, with an elliptical arch on the east elevation that is not centered on the building, and glazed curved slashes on both elevations (east and west) that will glow at night when the building is lit from the inside; and

WHEREAS, The proposed addition would be highly visible from many vantage points, including from Fifth Avenue, from Broadway and from Madison Square Park; and

WHEREAS, The mechanical equipment would be higher than the adjacent buildings and would be highly visible from many vantage points; and

WHEREAS, The proposed site is the entry point to the Madison Square North Historic District and holds a great architectural and urbanistic significance as the gateway to the historic district, therefore must be treated with great care of sensitivity; and

WHEREAS, The very visible Addition and the extremely visible bulkhead would extend the building beyond the height of the buildings on either side; and

WHEREAS, The proposed Addition, although daring in design, is not contextual in style, scale, design, or material, and

WHEREAS, Members of the public attended CB5’s landmarks committee meeting and vigorously objected to the rooftop addition, stating that the scale of the proposal is utterly inadequate and underscoring the “gem-like” qualities of the existing building at 204 Fifth Avenue; and

WHEREAS, The creation of a highly visible Addition that is not contextual to the building, the surrounding buildings, or the Madison Square North Historical District as a whole is inappropriate, therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application to install a rooftop addition and a bulkhead at 204 Fifth Avenue.

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