Park Avenue residents push LPC to block Toll Brothers project

May 15, 2012 09:00AM

Typically a buyer of pre-assembled lots, Toll Brothers is wading in unchartered territory with its development plans at Park Avenue between 89th and 90th streets. The Wall Street Journal reported the firm’s latest trouble at the location comes from residents on the block who have doubled down their efforts to block the project by pushing to designate the very buildings on the site as landmarks.

Toll acquired two townhouses at 1108 and 1110 Park Avenue in March for $29.5 million, and have been working to demolish the circa-1856 structures to erect a new development. As previously reported, residents of neighboring buildings were concerned their views and natural light would be destroyed by a new structure and pushed to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to expand the Park Avenue historic district to protect the site. But the LPC wouldn’t recommend the expansion.

“We are not in the business of protecting views,” said Elizabeth de Bourbon, a spokesperson for the commission. “It is our job to protect the historic character and integrity of a neighborhood.”

Now the residents are lobbying the LPC to landmark the particular buildings. They argue that the townhouses are among the last vestiges of Park Avenue before it became a luxurious thoroughfare when the railroad was pushed below ground in the 1910s. [WSJ]