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Application to expand the existing Madison Square North Historic District

WHEREAS, The Madison Square North Historic District was designated a Historic District by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on June 26 2001, comprising approximately 96 buildings between the Avenue of the Americas and Madison Avenue and 25th and 29th Streets; and

WHEREAS, In 2008, Historic Districts Council, HDC, commissioned a survey of buildings adjacent to the existing district; and

WHEREAS, The 29th Street Neighborhood Association proposes an expansion of the existing District with new borders from the Avenue of the Americas to Park Avenue South and from 24th to 34th Streets, as well as a small southerly addition to adjoin the existing northern boundary of the Ladies' Mile Historic District; and

WHEREAS, This proposal is in response to a suggestion by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a more comprehensive effort to preserve relevant local architecture than the prevailing piecemeal approach; and

WHEREAS, This expansion would be in keeping with the original planned phased process; and

WHEERAS, The Applicant seeks to preserve the architectural and historical complexity of an eclectic neighborhood that shows the progression of the area from a premier residential and entertainment center of the city from the late 1800s until the turn of the 20th Century to the surge of mid-rise commercial and loft buildings that welcomed the age of the Roaring Twenties; and

WHEREAS, This expansion would add approximately 286 buildings to the existing District; and

WHEERAS, The proposed area is expansive and, as is typical in all Historic Districts, includes parking lots, non-contributing buildings, and empty lots; and

WHEREAS, Property owners and developers expressed concern that the proposed borders may be over-broad and too sweeping in scope; and

WHEREAS, A large number of supporters, including architects, residents, and property owners, spoke in favor of the expansion, and

WHEREAS, The expansion area, dating from the turn of the century to the depression,  includes buildings that clearly express the historical and architectural narrative set forth in the original District's Designation Report; and

WHEREAS, Numerous examples of turn-of-the-century hotels and both original and repurposed mid-19th century row houses populate the proposed expansion area; and

WHEREAS, The expansion area includes the famed cultural landmark of Tin Pan Alley on West 28th Street, which served as the heart of the American popular music publishing industry until the start of World War I; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application to expand the existing Madison Square North Historic District and asks the Landmarks and Preservation Commission to determine appropriate boundaries for the expansion area; therefore be it also

RESOLVED, Community Board Five urges LPC to streamline its review process for alterations to landmarked buildings so as to put minimal strain on building owners and their retail tenants.

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