The Real Deal New York

Aby Rosen clashes with Landmarks over Four Seasons

Developer didn't discuss plans for exterior renovation with property's easement holder

April 28, 2015 08:02AM

A rendering of the Pool Room

A rendering of the proposed changes at the Pool Room

Aby Rosen’s plans to renovate the Four Seasons restaurant at the 38-story Seagram Building are on hold after the developer didn’t discuss plans to renovate his building’s exterior with the easement holder of the property.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission delayed a hearing during which it was supposed to discuss the changes from April 21 to May 19, after Rosen didn’t reach out to the New York Landmarks Conservancy to discuss his plans, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The applicants have to show it to easement holders before it comes to a hearing,” Sarah Carroll, executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Commission told the newspaper. “We check on applicants to make sure they have done what they have to do.”

Rosen’s proposal includes the renovation of panels of French walnut in the iconic pool room that could be used as interior windows. The trees on the corners of the pool would be placed on top of casters, to make it easier to move them, according to the newspaper. It also includes the conversion of a glass-enclosed wine cellar into two powder rooms and the removal of a low glass wall that was designed by Philip Johnson, the architect of the restaurant, according to the newspaper.

Rosen’s RFR Holding issued a statement last week, saying it is looking forward to work with the conservancy on the exterior design plans and has a chance to bring the restaurant back to its former glory.

“Though we respect and value their opinions, New York Landmarks Conservancy input is limited to certain exterior elements,” RFR’s statement said.

From left: The Four Seasons Restaurant and Aby Rosen

From left: The Four Seasons Restaurant and Aby Rosen

Rosen earlier clashed with the conservancy over his plans to remove Picassotheatrical curtain “Le Tricorne” from the restaurant at 99 East 52nd Street, which had hung there fore more than half a century.

“It is an ill-advised renovation that will affect the quality of the room,” starchitect Robert A.M. Stern told the newspaper. “It is one of the great rooms in New York, and one of the few great modernist rooms.”

Meanwhile, the Four Seasons has reportedly been mulling a move to nearby 280 Park Avenue. [WSJ] — Claire Moses