Supreme Court judge halts renovations at Vornado’s 510 Fifth

A State Supreme Court judge has issued a temporary restraining order, halting renovations at a landmark Vornado Realty Trust office building at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street in response to a lawsuit brought by preservationists, the New York Times reported.

The lawsuit alleges that Vornado, abetted by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, has exceeded commission-set limitations designed to protect the interior of the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building at 510 Fifth Avenue, which was originally part of the Manufacturers Trust Company and was designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The landmarks commission denies any wrongdoing on the part of Vornado, which, it says, has complied with their permit.

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“We approved a project that will restore several important features of the space, including its signature luminous ceiling and transparency, and allow for modifications to adapt the building to a new use,” said Elisabeth de Bourbon, a commission spokeswoman.

Theodore Grunewald, founder of a coalition, said Vornado is doing the space an injustice: “Vornado, through the commission, has robbed this bank of its key architectural, historical and symbolic elements, the unique things that set it apart and define it as a masterpiece.”

Vornado bought the building for $58 million last year. Construction began at the building in June. [NYT]