Zealous LPC commish encounters resistance

From left: LPC Chairman Robert Tierney and the Brooklyn Municipal building in the Skyscraper Historic District
Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert Tierney has anointed more historic districts than any other administration has, but Crain’s noted that his zeal is beginning to meet some resistance.

Tierney has designated 27 such districts in his eight years, with a particular focus on the outer boroughs as previous chairs were accused of focusing too exclusively on Manhattan. But the development community and the property owners in those areas have criticized the LPC because the designations mean more expenses for them. The more than 29,000 buildings with landmark protections must undergo a strict approval process for even the smallest construction upgrades, delaying projects and increasing costs.

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With that in mind, owners in Tierney’s current landmark target, the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District in downtown Brooklyn, are fighting against the designation. SL Green Realty Corp, the Real Estate Board of New York and the co-op board at 75 Livingston Street argue that the buildings aren’t architecturally significant and don’t want to be faced with the increased cost of making building improvements in landmarked structures. The district still needs City Council and mayoral approval before it is officially designated a landmark.

But LPC supporters say the designation also adds value for landowners, as it preserves neighborhood characteristics coveted by property owners who bought into areas in the first place. [Crain’s]