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281 Park Avenue South, Church Missions House: application for proposed installation of equipment at the existing roof level, an elevator at the rear of the east building façade, and proposed exterior lighting.

WHEREAS, 281 Park Avenue South is an individual landmark designated in 1979, located at the southeast corner of Park Avenue South and East 22nd Street; and

WHEREAS, This building was built 1892-1894 and designed by Robert Williams Gibson and Edward J. Neville Stent with a very decorative medieval appearance that features a broad central gable with dormers and eyebrow windows as well as a very distinctive central “porch” entrance; and

WHEREAS, The applicant proposes to replace existing mechanical equipment with new mechanical equipment on the central roof, install an elevator in an existing courtyard at the rear of the building while altering an exterior staircase, remove and relocate an original arched stained glass window, and install exterior lighting on the west and north facades of the building; and

WHEREAS, The proposed replacement of existing mechanical equipment on the roof will increase the number of mechanical elements at this location but these new additions will be less visible from the street level, with additional changes to this area to include reducing the amount of metal walkways thus further reducing visibility of non-original materials from the street; and

WHEREAS, Installation of the proposed elevator installation will occupy an existing courtyard that is not visible from the street and will not require a bulkhead to be built higher than the existing roof, but will require the removal of an historic, arched stained glass window and frame that is currently not visible and will also require the existing exterior stairwell to be increased by one floor; and

WHEREAS, The applicant proposes to move the stained glass window and frame to a permanent public location within the 2nd Floor of the building and is agreeable to placing standard deed restrictions on the window requiring any alterations or movement of the window to be placed within the purview of the Landmarks Preservation Commission; and

WHEREAS, The applicant also proposes an exterior lighting scheme on the western and northern facades of the building that include up-lighting on columns, lighting of decorative arches and balustrades, as well as two lanterns in corner cupolas, and has agreed to maintain a soft, warm glow that does not disturb neighboring residences or detract from the landmark itself and has agreed to future discussions with CB5 for necessary adjustments should they be necessary; and

WHEREAS, The proposed alterations will help reduce the visibility of non-historic materials from the street-level as well as put on public-display a large historic window that is currently not visible, and do not detract from the landmark; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the proposed changes to replace existing mechanicals at the roof level, install an elevator in the rear courtyard, extend the existing exterior stairwell by one floor, remove and relocate a historic window to the 2nd Floor interior, and install an exterior lighting scheme at 281 Park Avenue South.

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