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608 Fifth Avenue, application for proposed signage, flags, painting at the exterior windows, and storefront modification.

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2023, the following resolution passed with a vote of 34 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, 608 5th Avenue (The Applicant), also known as the Swiss Center, is an office building on 5th Avenue adjacent to Rockefeller Center; and

WHEREAS, The building, designed by Victor L.S. Hafner, and completed in 1932 is an example of both the Art Deco and International Style; and

WHEREAS, The building was designated in 1992 as an interior landmark for the first floor lobby, which this application does not affect or alter, and an exterior landmark, with the designation report highlighting the two-part composition of the building between the lower two levels and the upper levels, and the deep green “verde antique” marble on the lower levels; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing additional signage on both the Fifth avenue and 49th street facades with bronze pin letters on the existing marble, and with CNC cut bronze vinyl letters adhered to the storefront at the first level, none of which would contain any lighting; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing to replace the existing flags with new flags of the same dimension which feature branding for the new occupant, and which utilize the existing flagpoles; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing to paint the frames of the existing storefront at the first and second a bronze color to match the proposed signage; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing to replace the main, non-original, vestibule of the building on Fifth avenue, which currently has three sets of double doors, and would be replaced with two sets of double doors; and

WHEREAS, CB5 believes that this application provides an overwhelming amount of signage on for this location, particularly with the replacement of the existing American flags with new banners, and the vinyl signage across the storefront; and 

WHEREAS, CB5 has concerns about the mounting of the pin letters into the historic marble, particularly given the mounting method and the quantity of signage, and suggested using signage with continuous support that would minimize penetrations and allow them to be done at joint lines; and

WHEREAS, CB5 believes that the bronze color at all of the signage is not contextual or appropriate for this building or the surrounding context; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant, upon hearing the concerns of the committee, agreed to alter the design to address these three concerns, and refile with the Landmarks Preservation Commission; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Manhattan Community Board Five recommends denial unless the applicant submits a new design to the Landmarks Preservation Commission that reduces the quantity of signage, modifies the pin signage to limit new penetrations, and selects a more contextual color for the repainting of the storefront frames.

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