<< Back


451-455 Madison Avenue, Application for a cast-stone replacement master plan

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, July 08, 2021, the following resolution passed with a vote of 26 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, HENRY VILLARD HOUSES, located at 451-455 Madison Avenue, bounded by 50th and 51st streets, was constructed in 1882-1884 and designed by famed architects McKim, Mead & White; and

WHEREAS, the designation report notes that “Nowhere in New York City does there exist another unified group of brownstone residences of such magnitude as this cluster standing on Madison Avenue.”; and

WHEREAS, Lotte New York Palace (the “Applicant”), is undergoing façade restoration as part of the NYC façade inspection program (LL11); and

WHEREAS, Portions of the brownstone façade have deteriorated and need to be replaced; and

WHEREAS, The extent of stone replacement is limited; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant has sourced stones from a multitude of quarries, including a quarry in China, but the staff of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has deemed all the proposed stone samples to not be a match; and

WHEREAS, as a last resort, the applicant is seeking a certificate of appropriateness for a master plan for cast stone, a man-made material, to replace existing deteriorated brownstone for this restoration, and for any future stone replacement needs; and

WHEREAS, The landmarks committee of Community Board Five (CB5) closely evaluated the photographic evidence of the stone samples and finds them to be a very close match to the existing historic materials; and

WHEREAS, CB5 believes that the staff of LPC is acting in an unreasonable and capricious manner by refusing the proposed samples; and

WHEREAS, Cast stone, a man-made material does not age and patina the same way as a natural material and is rarely a match in the long run as over the years, it weathers differently from the material it is made to mimic; and

WHEREAS, For a stone restoration project, it is always preferable to use natural stone, even if the match is close but not perfect, as natural materials will age and patina harmoniously with the original materials; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application for a cast-stone master plan replacement program; and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges LPC commissioners and staff to approve the natural stone samples submitted by the Applicant, as they will age and patina harmoniously with the existing historic materials.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter