Special interest seen in Park Lane Hotel landmark bid

Campaign raising questions as to whether third party wants to block Macklowe, Witkoff project

From left: Park Lane Hotel and Steve Witkoff
From left: Park Lane Hotel and Steve Witkoff

A small group is looking to Secure Landmark Status For The Park Lane Hotel at 36 Central Park South, and some insiders see the hand of a special interest guiding the effort.

People with knowledge of the campaign told the New York Times the landmark backers are likely acting on behalf of someone who doesn’t want to see a new 850-foot tower move forward, such as a rival developer or wealthy condo owner in a nearby home. The property – the last jewel in Leona Helmsley’s massive estate crown – sold to a partnership that included developers Harry Macklowe and Steve Witkoff for $660 million.

“I’m astonished by this whole thing,” Witkoff told the newspaper. “I’m amazed anyone would think to stoop this low.”

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The faces of the campaign are Tribeca architect John Furth Peachy, former lawyer for the Giuliani administration Juan Reyes and real estate attorney William Kaplan, the Times reported.

The Landmarks and Preservation Council turned down an initial landmark proposal in March, and Reyes has since lobbied City Council member Daniel Garodnick, Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer and Community Board 5, according to the newspaper.

“None of it made sense,” one board member told the Times. “We assumed they were working for someone, but it was all so clumsy.” [NYT]Tom DiChristopher