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1501 Broadway – Application for Certificate of Appropriateness for New Marquee, Storefront & Signage at 43rd Street Facade

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, February 13, 2020, the following resolution passed with a vote of 34 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining and 1 present but not entitled to vote:

WHEREAS, The Paramount Building, located at 1501 Broadway and West 43rd Street in Times Square, was built in 1926-27, and has made a significant contribution to the development of the Broadway theater district; and

WHEREAS, The building was designed by the firm of Rapp & Rapp, who were among the best-known and most prolific designers of elaborate movie theaters in the 1920s; and

WHEREAS, The Paramount Building first served as the Eastern headquarters for the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, the forerunner of Paramount Pictures; and

WHEREAS, The building's distinctive massing is exemplary of the innovative setback skyscraper type of the 1920s; and

WHEREAS, The building was designated an individual Landmark in 1985; and

WHEREAS, 1501 Broadway is a thirty-three story building with a clock tower and was the tallest structure on Broadway north of the Woolworth Building at the time of its completion; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing a new marquee, storefront and signage at the 43rd Street façade at 1501 Broadway located to the west of the building’s Main Entry, as well as a glass partition abutting the show window at a bay on Broadway; and

WHEREAS, The four applicable bays are to have new storefront framing installed, as governed by the parameters set forth by the LPC approved Master Plan (dated 4.30.18); and

WHEREAS, In confirming existing conditions, it has been discovered that it will not be possible to fully carry out the signage aspect of the Master Plan as defined by the aforementioned approval (ie: installing horizontal tube rails and applied signage lettering), due to minimum head clearances as a result of the upward sloping sidewalk; and

WHEREAS, Installing the tube rails and signage as designed would render conditions with head clearances less than the code required 10’-0” minimum; and

WHEREAS, The applicant wishes to eliminate these items from above the four (4) applicable bays; and

WHEREAS, In an attempt to maximize the height of the storefronts to counter the slope of the sidewalk, the applicant wishes to raise the storefront height whereby the end result closely resembles the proportions of the previously installed storefronts elsewhere in the building; and

WHEREAS, Failing to do so would render door heights of only 7’-0” with the impossibility of creating transoms above, in contrast to the parameters set forth by the Master Plan; and

WHEREAS, A new (second) marquee serving the reconfigured retail entry, which was originally part of the project scope before being eliminated in June 2017, is part of the scope once more; and

WHEREAS, The proposed marquee is modern, taking its design inspiration from the original marquees that were adjacent to the original decorative marquee which itself has since been replicated and installed above the building’s main entrance; and

WHEREAS, Over the years, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has seen fit to approve signage alterations previously denied by Community Board Five; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five registers a vote of No Objection to the application by The Paramount Building, located at 1501 Broadway and West 43rd Street, for a Certificate of Appropriateness for new marquee, storefront and signage at its 43rd Street facade.

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