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75 Rockefeller Plaza (btw. Rockefeller Plaza and Avenue of the Americas) - Modifications to the ground-floor infill on West 51st and 52nd Street elevations, installation of new planters, paving, etc.

At the scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, June 13, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution by a vote of 41 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, 75 Rockefeller Plaza is part of Landmarked Rockefeller Center, an Art-Deco style commercial, office and entertainment complex of 19 commercial buildings, covering 22 acres (89,000 m2) between West 48th and 51st Streets built by the Rockefeller Family; and

WHEREAS, 75 Rockefeller Plaza was designed by Robert Carson and Earl Lundin with Wallace K. Harrison as consulting architect, built in 1946 as headquarters for Standard Oil Company and originally named as the Esso Building; and

WHEREAS, This 33 story building was constructed some 15 years after the rest of the complex, primarily due to the ties between the Rockefeller Family and Standard Oil, on a site that at one time was intended to be a continuation of Rockefeller Plaza northward; and

WHEREAS, The building, located at the northerly end of Rockefeller Plaza, has 100 ft. frontage on West 51st Street and 275 ft. frontage on West 52nd Street and was originally intended to have an interior corridor to provide a continuation for pedestrian access through the block; and

WHEREAS, This corridor, which once housed the largest Schrafft's Restaurant, has fallen into disuse, other parts of the building have been neglected over time and maintenance has not been kept up in comparison to the rest of Rockefeller Center which is under separate ownership; and

WHEREAS, The building has been net leased to Time Warner as its headquarters until 2014, with the building now subleased to other tenants who will all vacate the premises at that time, giving its new owners the opportunity to repair, upgrade and modernize various elements of the building; and

WHEREAS, In early 2013 the investment and operating company, RXR Realty, entered into a 99-year lease for this Landmark retail and office building and has applied to LPC for modifications to the ground-floor infill on the West 51st and 52nd Street elevations, installation of new planters, paving, and a railing on the 2nd floor set-back terraces above the West 51st and 52nd Street elevations; and

WHEREAS, The scope of work will include:

1.      West 51st Street Facade: Moving the main entrance to the west side of the building; moving the 75 Rockefeller Center signage to the new main entrance; Retail glass storefront will be added to the bronze concave plaque; Retail signage to be added above a horizontal trim element; Mullions to be replaced; Glass to be replaced at the second storefront; Terrace landscaping will be improved; Facade limestone and granite will be cleaned; Aluminum spandrels to be cleaned; Windows will be replaced to improve performance

2.      West 52nd Street Facade: Main entrance to be moved to the west side; Canopy and setback will be moved toward the west; New entrance with access to the podium lift will be added; mullions and storefront glass will be replaced; existing canopy will be removed and the green marble will be cleaned; Existing loading dock door will be replaced with a new steel rolling door; Terrace Landscaping will be improved; Existing granite will be cleaned; flags will be relocated toward the west to be centered on the new entrance location; Existing signage plaque to be removed and Deer Isle Granite to be restored

3.      Set-back Terraces above the West 51st and 52nd Street elevations: New planters; Granite pavers to replace existing gravel; New railing 3' 6" in height; and

WHEREAS, The relocation of the entrance doors to the west will align both streets' building entrances to a new pedestrian corridor going through the block which will have a new skylight to make the building's non-designated interior more conducive to pedestrian and retail activity; and

WHEREAS, The proposed modifications will constitute a vast improvement over the existing condition and are intended to bring this property into line with the other parts of the Rockefeller Center complex; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness for 75 Rockefeller Plaza (btw. Rockefeller Plaza and Avenue of the Americas) for modifications to the ground-floor infill on West 51st and 52nd Street elevations, installation of new planters, paving, and a railing on the 2nd floor set-back terraces above the West 51st and 52nd Street elevations.

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