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1260 Broadway, Hotel Martinique, Application for Façade Renovation Master Plan

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, April 13, 2023, the following resolution passed with a vote of 31 in favor; 0 opposed; 0 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Hotel Martinique, located on the corner of 32nd Street and Broadway at Greeley Square, with an additional entrance at 33rd Street, is a 19-story building which occupies a large portion of the block, with three sides exposed to street thoroughfares; and

WHEREAS, The building was built in three phases between 1897–1911, designed by prominent architect Henry J. Hardenbergh and is a New York City Landmark as designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1998; and

WHEREAS, The building was designed based on Beaux-Arts precedents and constructed with French Renaissance-inspired elements including a bold mansard roof with towers, ornate dormers, and exterior clad in glazed brick, terracotta and limestone featuring rusticated stonework, balconies, and prominent cartouches on the façade; and 

WHEREAS, The building continues to operate as a functioning hotel, and was acquired in 2021 by Burnett Equities who now operates the institution under the Hilton Brands; and 

WHEREAS, Prior to the landmark designation, the first and second floors were modernized and currently retain little of the historic detail from the original design, given the uses and environment over the decades changed and further strayed from the elegance of the original design; and

WHEREAS, The master plan proposal addresses primarily the first and second floor street facades of the building and seeks to restore the historic detail from the original design and highlight the main entrance, frontage and façade of the Greeley Square adjacent building; and

WHEREAS, The proposed renovations include a new prominent entrance marquee along 32nd Street to replace the existing one, designed with glass and ornamental stampings to mimic the original design, which was pressed metal; and

WHEREAS, The new marquee will remain the same size as the existing one, the footprint of which has decreased over the building’s history, utilize the existing structure, and contextualize the historic character of the hotel; and 

WHEREAS, The existing black granite that clads the marquee’s entrance will be removed and the painted limestone behind restored, and replaced with a new structure designed to maintain the original rusticated entry profile and will include fan-arch fenestration; and

WHEREAS, The proposal will also reintroduce cast stone columns and fan-arch fenestration along the ground level on Broadway as well as simplified ornamentation, new doors, ventilation and repaired rustication at the 33rd Street façade which currently serve as retail frontage and a service entrance; and

WHEREAS, The applicant has proposed an installation of a lighting scheme to increase visibility of the building’s unique architectural elements from Greeley Square, and replacing the existing vertical signage with a monument channel-lit replacement (maintaining the current size), drawing inspiration from Vaudeville Theatre; and 

WHEREAS, The proposed small lighting fixtures will be warm color temperature LED bulbs, set-back with efforts taken to utilize existing openings to enable wiring connections and minimize the visibility of such fixtures from the pedestrian view; and 

WHEREAS, The applicant proposes modifications to the existing windows, including various designs incorporating historic design and materials, including aluminum framing set with mullions to allow for durability and added character, as well as the addition of transom glass or louvers in the case of select installations for ventilation purposes so as to give off the appearance of windows; and 

WHEREAS, The applicant proposes reintroducing two columns to the Broadway exterior, consistent with the historical design, which will be cast stone composite columns; and 

WHEREAS, The applicant proposes signage placements for the retail tenants, including affixing a blade sign for the restaurant tenant to one of the proposed columns on Broadway as well as two sculptural owls affixed to the building on 33rd Street;

WHEREAS, The proposed sculpture owl, whose design is specific to the restaurant tenant, will flank the entryway, approximately seven feet above the ground and will project out 12 inches; and

WHEREAS, The proposed renovations have been reviewed by the Landmarks Committee of Community Board Five; and

WHEREAS, The applicant has engaged in thoughtful research and analysis for the restoration and demonstrated strong adherence to maintaining the historic character and exterior aesthetics of the landmark as the proposals are generally harmonious with the building’s historic elements while maintaining respect to the landmark; and

WHEREAS, The blade sign on the column the sculpture owls are not appropriate compliments to the façade, and if implemented, would set a poor precedent for commercializing and degradation of the historic value of precious landmarks; and

WHEREAS, The proposed tenant-specific signage is inconsistent with these themes, particularly the column blade sign and the two sculpture owls, and the lighting fixtures could also threaten the character of the restoration if care is not taken to minimize the visibility of those fixtures; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends conditional approval of the application by the Hotel Martinique at 1260 Broadway, for restoration and renovative work on the façade under the proposed master plan on the condition that the applicant provide goodwill consideration to (i) exclude the tenant-specific one blade sign affixed to cast column and two sculpture owls from the master plan, and (ii) consider taking best-effort steps to reduce the visibility of the lighting fixtures from street-view and limit the penetrations to the historic fabric of the building through the restorative process to preserve the integrity and historic character of the building.



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