Historic Districts Council to name 33 buildings that need protection in Midtown East

January 29, 2013 09:30AM

The Historic Districts Council will reveal today a list of 33 buildings in Midtown East that it believes should be protected in the wake of the city’s rezoning proposal for the area, Crain’s reported.

The final list of 33 — whittled down from an initial 78 — includes 20 commercial buildings, six hotels, four institutional buildings and three residential buildings. These include the Yale Club on Vanderbilt Avenue, the Minnie Young residence on East 54th Street and the former Union Carbide building at 270 Park Avenue.

The buildings were chosen based on what they contributed to the architectural makeup of the city. Another criterion was buildings that would be considered underbuilt, or ripe for development, were the Midtown East proposal — which is expected to be the catalyst for bigger and taller buildings in the area — to pass.

“In that instance there is a much higher level of threat to the continued existence of the building,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, told Crain’s. He added that if these buildings were landmarked, they could still sell air rights to neighboring developers.

But REBNY president Steven Spinola told Crain’s that the current restrictions on air rights sales, which require them to be sold only to adjacent properties or in the case of landmarks to those across the street, would limit the landmark buildings’ options.

“There may be some that are worthy of designation,” Spinola said. “But it’s funny that a lot of these sites also happen to correspond to the sites that could take advantage of the rezoning and create wonderful new office towers.” [Crain’s]  —Hiten Samtani