The owner of a Soho gas station is presenting modified plans for an office tower at his property to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the New York Post reported. Marcello Porcetti, who owns the BP at West Houston and Lafayette Streets, has been vying to develop an office tower with ground floor retail at the 11,000-square-foot site for years, but must find favor in the LPC eyes thanks to a 2010 landmarks expansion that included his gas station. His new plans call for a seven-story tower designed by Rick Cook, who also designed the Bank of America tower at Bryant Park.
The Post uses Porcetti’s plight as illustration of the city’s aggressive landmarking initiatives since Bloomberg took office. Three percent of all buildings in the five boroughs are currently landmarked and the city is seeking protection for 3,162 more properties.
The Real Estate Board of New York and other development groups say the landmarking is putting a stranglehold on the city, stifling growth and increasing expenses. But a LPC spokesperson countered that, “as the gateway to SoHo, West Houston Street was determined to be so critical to its character that the vacant lots there . . .ought to be under [LPC’s] purview.” [Post]