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424 5th Avenue, WeWork Lord & Taylor Application

WHEREAS, 424 5th Avenue, known as the Lord and Taylor Department Store, located between 38th and 39th Streets, was designed by the architectural firm of Starrett and Van Vleck in the Italian renaissance Revival Style; and

WHEREAS, It was completed in 1914, and was praised that year by Architecture Magazine as “the best of its class” and a “gift and a benefit” to the public; and

WHEREAS, The building is made up of 10 floors and a penthouse; and

WHEREAS, The building was designated an individual landmark in 2007; and

WHEREAS, The applicant, building owner WeWork, seeks approval for a rooftop addition; the removal of a chimney, restoration and / or reconstruction of the building’s windows; installation of aluminum new windows on a secondary façade, restoration and partial reconstruction of the balustrades; updated façade lighting; new signage; restored ADA compliant entrances on 5th Avenue, 38th Street and 39th Street; new canopies on 38th Streets and 39th Streets; and

WHEREAS, The replacement windows made of wood are appreciated, but they should be extended to the new windows being “punched”; and

WHEREAS, The balustrade restoration, the façade lighting, the loading bay enlargement, the new entryways and realigned doors to make those entrances ADA compliant are all sympathetic restorations in the historical context of the building; and

WHEREAS, The historic chimney is non-functioning, and its unfortunate removal will create additional space for tenants; and

WHEREAS, The proposed signage has not been clarified given that the new tenants are not yet
confirmed; and

WHEREAS, The proposed signage areas have been identified and are substantial in number and size; and

WHEREAS, The proposed rooftop addition is a large all glass cube of striking angles and proportions
comprised of two stories that includes no masonry; and

WHEREAS, The existing rooftop courtyards would be removed, including the arched doors leading from
the existing penthouse into the sunken courtyard; and

WHEREAS, The proposed rooftop addition is of an acceptable scale and mass, with minimal visibility
from the street, but is in a very modern, non-contextual style; and

WHEREAS, The thin metal canopies with pin light constellations above the three entrances would block
the view and enjoyment of parts of the historic façade; and

WHEREAS, They are also very modern, in a non-contextual style; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application UNLESS
1. The applicant agrees to redesign the rooftop addition that is contextual, to better maintain the
historic fabric and context of the existing building; and
2. The applicant agrees to eliminate or redesign the canopies above the entrances on 38th and 39th
Streets to match the historic fabric and context of the existing building; and
3. The applicant agrees to return to CB5 for approval of plans for signage as tenants are confirmed
at the building.

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