The Real Deal New York

The Top 10 preservation fights of 2018

JP Morgan's new HQ, 550 Madison renovations and proposed LPC rule change were among the year's biggest battles
December 23, 2018 02:00PM

From left: 270 Park Avenue, former Landmarks Preservation Commission chair Meenakshi Srinivasan and 550 Madison Avenue

JP Morgan’s new headquarters, the renovations to 550 Madison and rule changes at the Landmarks Preservation Commission were among the top preservation battles of 2018.

Here’s a look at the year’s 10 biggest showdowns, according to Curbed:

1) Marx Brothers playground

AvalonBay Communities’ plan to build a 700-foot tower on the Upper East Side rankles opponents who disagree with the developer’s plan to replace green space.

2) 270 Park Avenue

Jamie Dimon and 270 Park Avenue (Credit: Getty Images)

Preservationists want to save 270 Park Avenue – also known as the Union Carbide building. But the city didn’t landmark the tower when it rezoned Midtown East, and it looks unlikely that it will before JP Morgan tears it down to build a new headquarters.

3) Landmarks Preservation Commission’s proposed rule change

Meenakshi Srinivasan

It’s believed that former LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan stepped down – in part – over backlash from her decision to handle some changes like rooftop and backyard additions to staff-level meetings, instead of public hearings.

4) The Baptist Church of the Redeemer

Preservations pushed to save this nearly century-old church in Ditmas Park, but developer Mutual Housing Association of New York is moving forward with plans to build a nine-story residential building at the site.

5) 550 Madison Avenue

Renderings of 550 Madison Avenue (Images courtesy of Snohetta)

Developers Olayan America and Chesfield America this year made changes to the lobby – which is not landmarked – raising the ire of preservationists.

6) The Frick Collection

The collection is planning a $160 million renovation designed by Annabelle Selldorf Architects. Opponents fought to have the garden preserved, but the LPC approved the expansion.

7) Hans S. Christian Memorial Kindergarten

The LPC sided with local residents and landmarked this French Renaissance-style structure in Carroll Gardens.

8) Broadway buildings

Fearful of techies spurring overdevelopment in the neighborhood, locals want to landmark parts of Greenwich Village after the city announced plans to develop a tech hub on 14th Street.

9) Merchant’s House Museum

Merchant’s House Museum at 29 East 4th Street (Credit: Merchant’s House)

Locals want to stop a hotel from rising on the site of the Lower East Side’s Merchant House Museum.

10) S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse

A rearview of the former S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse at 595-611 Smith Street (Credit: Google Maps)

Gowanus residents have been trying for more than a decade to landmark this site, which is owned by the Chetrit Group. In June, a fire broke out in the warehouse, and the fire department said it was intentionally started. [Curbed] — Rich Bockmann