Bill Ackman getting his glass penthouse … mostly

Landmarks panel approves billionaire’s scaled-down plan

New York /
May.May 04, 2022 08:30 AM
Bill Ackman and a rendering of the glass penthouse at 6-16 West 77th Street (Getty, Foster + Partners)

Bill Ackman and a rendering of the glass penthouse at 6-16 West 77th Street (Getty, Foster + Partners)

Bill Ackman is getting his penthouse in the sky, but not quite the one he wanted.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved Ackman’s amended plan to build a glass penthouse atop the century-old co-op building in the Upper West Side, where the billionaire investor owns a unit, 6sqft reported.

Ackman was subject to the commission’s whims because 6-16 West 77th Street is in the Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District.

In a Zoom meeting last year, Ackman made his case for replacing a pink stucco servants’ residence atop the apartment with a two-story, 3,000-square-foot glass pavilion. He garnered support for the plan from Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger and historian Kenneth Jackson, among others.

A rendering of the glass penthouse at 6-16 West 77th Street (Foster + Partners)

A rendering of the glass penthouse at 6-16 West 77th Street (Foster + Partners)

Detractors, however, claimed the project would disrupt the character of the area and set a precedent for billionaires to make changes as they desire. In reality, Landmarks is not bound by previous decisions.

“If the commission is going to cave to the glitter of one billionaire, there’s no hope for this city as a place where everyday people hope and live and die,” former PBS newsman Bill Moyers moaned to the New York Times.

The commission ultimately asked the architects to return with a scaled-back plan.

After more pushback during a January meeting, that’s what Foster + Partners delivered. The occupied space on the 18th level is gone. The cladding of matte gray is closer to neutral than the previous design. The height of the addition, meanwhile, has been reduced to the height of the existing penthouse.

In approving the redesign, the commission called the plans “attractive” and a “masterpiece of architecture.”

Ackman, founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, signed a contract to buy the Upper West Side penthouse in 2018, ultimately paying about $22.5 million. The 13-room unit was formerly owned by late feminist Nancy Friday, author of the book “My Secret Garden.”

[6sqft] — Holden Walter-Warner





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