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Five East Midtown Buildings Nearing Landmarks Designation

EMidtown

Today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed five East Midtown Buildings for landmark consideration. Four of the five buildings were on the list of 17 buildings MAS asked the Commission to evaluate late last year. Ensuring these buildings are protected is essential to maintaining the diversity of architectural styles that help define this neighborhood, giving it its unique character.

The buildings up for landmark consideration include:

  1. Graybar Building, 420 Lexington Avenue
  2. Shelton Hotel, 525 Lexington Avenue (now a Marriott)
  3. Pershing Square Building, 125 Park Avenue
  4. Hotel Lexington, 511 Lexington Avenue
  5. Beverly Hotel (later the Benjamin Hotel), 557 Lexington Avenue

The request to preserve these buildings and others was issued in response to the Department of City Planning’s proposed East Midtown rezoning, which aims to ensure the neighborhood’s future by incentivizing new tall towers around Grand Central Terminal. In a New York Times piece released earlier this year, architect Robert A.M. Stern pointed out that protecting these historic buildings—including what he called “Arthur Loomis Harmon’s extraordinary Shelton Club Hotel”—may be the best way to ensure East Midtown’s future.  Citing the historic SoHo and the Flatiron Districts as examples, Stern contends that “Preservation, which too many in the real estate community reflexively oppose, has been a better stimulant for development than rezoning.”

The City’s rezoning proposal is currently in the final stages of the official land use review process and will be voted on by the City Planning Commission on September 30th and by the City Council later this year. Preserving the area’s historic resources is just one element of MAS’s holistic vision for the neighborhood, which was laid out in a report East Midtown: A Bold Vision for the Future, released earlier this year.

Until the final City Council vote, MAS will continue to advocate for the preservation of key historic assets as well as vital improvements to the neighborhood’s already stressed infrastructure and public spaces. Visit mas.org often for more on this important issue.