The Bloomberg administration’s aggressive landmarking is apparently a common enemy grave enough to unite real estate and labor groups that are traditionally at odds. Crain’s reported that the Real Estate Board of New York has joined with the New York Building Congress, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Building Trade Employers’ Association, the Community Housing Improvement Program, the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and 32BJ SEIU to form the Responsible Landmark Coalition. The group hopes to limit the amount of sites designated as landmarks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has designated more historic district that any other administration and in the last 10 years the Landmarks Preservation Commission has created 35 new historic districts and 227 individual landmarks to cover a total of 5,962 buildings. Last year, more buildings were designated than in any year since 1990.
The real estate interests in the group claims that protecting these buildings stifles development and contributes to a housing shortage, while the workers’ representatives worry that this lack of new development would limit construction jobs.
But preservationists counter that the city’s landmarking measures help ensure it remains unique, which helps attract tourism. Further, they note that groups have been using similar arguments for years yet development has managed to endure. [Crain’s]