A new 13-story building proposed for 207 West 79th street won approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission this week after the architects removed proposed balconies and shrunk the building by 30 feet and removed the penthouse, Curbed reported.
LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said she was “pleased” with the reduction in height and the removal of the terraces and the building-topping penthouse. Commissioner Michael Goldblum said demolition of the existing building was appropriate and called the new design “typical.”
The original proposal (see image below) sparked opposition, because neighbors said the balconies were out of character, and the new building would block windows at the Lucerne. The building that’s on the space now (see below) is in a historic district, although it was renovated in the 70’s and lost much of its charm.
Initial proposals at the LPC get full public hearings, and the commissiners got an earful. But when proposals come back for a second review, there is no hearing or review by the local community board.
Manhattan Borough President has criticized this practice in the past, as it allows developers to bypass a community review as long as they can do enough to satisfy the LPC. One man even spoke out at the hearing over 207 West 79th to criticize the project, Curbed reported.
A man named Samuel Leff, a past president of the West 79th Street Block Association, decided to, after the approval and closing of the hearing (and end of the day’s LPC session), get up and scold the commissioners for what they had done. This is highly unusual and several attendees seemed quite surprised. He nearly had to be escorted from the room. Outside, he said he will investigate suing the commission for their decision.