3 East 89th Street

Building Name

3 East 89th Street

Architect

Ogden Codman

Year(s) Built

1913-15

Application Description

Construct rooftop and rear yard additions; request that LPC issue a report to CPC relating to application for Modification of Use and Bulk pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution

Designation

Expanded Carnegie Hill Historic District

3 East 89th Street
Project Information:

A neo-Renaissance style townhouse designed by Ogden Codman and built in 1913-15. Application is to construct rooftop and rear yard additions, and to request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission issue a report to the City Planning Commission relating to an application for a Modification of Use and Bulk pursuant to Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution.

CB8 Hearing: 12/16/19 (Disapproved)
CB8 Hearing: 01/13/20 (Disapproved)
LPC Hearing: 02/11/20 (Approved with modifications)

Application is to amend the plans approved at the Public Hearing of February 11, 2020 to include a 6th floor rooftop addition and altered design of the rear yard addition.

LPC Meeting: 06/30/20 (Approved)

FRIENDS' Testimony:

3 East 89th Street is a unique building as it was never intended to operate as an independent structure. The townhouse was built in 1915 as an extension of 1083 Fifth Avenue, and later donated to the National Academy of Design, being part of a campus comprised of three structures that functioned together. With this in mind, we acknowledge the fact that it now needs to accommodate new uses, such as mechanical, administrative, and bathrooms. While this is not an Interior Landmark, FRIENDS applauds the applicant for keeping the layout and restoring most of the remarkable original interiors, therefore we reluctantly sympathize with the need to increase the bulk in order to accommodate the uses that come with the campus dissolution.

FRIENDS’ Preservation Committee does not oppose the east side infill, especially considering that the original exterior wall and windows will be maintained. We are, however, hesitant to support the north side infill. We are concerned about the impact that such increase in bulk will have on neighboring buildings, mainly on the stairwell drum of 1083 Fifth Avenue. The proposed rear studio shows obtrusive glazing that will call excessive attention to itself, especially at night. The rooftop addition is an overly ambitious plan for an already large space, and is not appropriate to the building nor the neighborhood. The existing structure already exceeds the 75 feet height limit imposed by current zoning, and FRIENDS cannot support the additional 11 feet derived from the two-story, 3820 square feet rooftop addition. Furthermore, the excessive glazing proposed at the south façade is jarring and will most likely be visible at night.

FRIENDS’ Preservation Commission commends the façade restoration. However, we would like to see an egress door design that is more harmonious with the existing multi-light openings. In regards to the Modification of Use portion of this 74-711 application, FRIENDS believes that this is a felicitous repurposing of a distinguished building that will continue to contribute to the cultural history and character of Museum Mile. We are, however, not convinced that the proposed bulk modifications relate harmoniously to the building and its neighborhood.

Finally, FRIENDS applauds the owner and applicant for working with the community, and for changing the proposal based on the Community Board 8 resolution. However, we encourage the applicant to continue working with the community and the Commission to come up with a plan that does not encompass a height increase and is more respectful towards neighboring buildings.

Thank you.

LPC Hearing:

FRIENDS' Testimony:

FRIENDS is deeply concerned with the unconventional procedures that led this proposal to come before the Commission again, especially given the extensive community opposition when this project was first presented in February. This extremely complex proposal was originally Approved with Modifications, thus community members and advocates did not expect any significant alterations aside from the removal of the sixth-floor as recommended by the Commissioners in February. FRIENDS believes that the new proposal is a major departure from what the community has previously seen, and is dismayed that it is a Public Meeting item, not allowing for public testimony. The Public Meeting classification also allows for the applicant to bypass the local Community Board review process, an important step of landmark regulation.

Additionally, FRIENDS takes issue with the form that this application is being presented. The applicant has chosen to not show the existing conditions of the buildings, in a way masquerading the cumulative impact of all the side, rear and roof-top additions will have on the original bulk of the structure. We are concerned that without the representation of the existing conditions, Commissioners will be biased…

As stated in our previous testimony, FRIENDS applauds the applicant for keeping the layout and restoring most of the remarkable original interiors, therefore we reluctantly sympathize with need to increase the bulk in order to accommodate the uses that come with the National Academy of Design campus dissolution.

When first proposed, FRIENDS’ Preservation Committee was hesitant to support the north side infill, as we were concerned about the impact that such increase in bulk will have on neighboring buildings, mainly on the stairwell drum of 1083 Fifth Avenue. We continue to be hesitant, especially since the new proposal shows a bigger encroachment on the stairwell drum. FRIENDS appreciates the removal of the rear studio, but believes that the new angled two-stories tall glazing will still call excessive attention to itself, especially at night.

FRIENDS Preservation Committee appreciates the reduction in size and height of the sixth-floor rooftop addition. However, we continue to believe it to be an overly ambitious plan for an already large space, and is not appropriate to the building nor the neighborhood. Despite being partially opaque, the extremely excessive glazing proposed is jarring and will most likely be visible at night from Fifth Avenue, East 89th Street, and Central Park. Furthermore, the existing structure already exceed the 75 feet height limit imposed by current zoning, and FRIENDS cannot support the additional 14 feet derived from the glass-box addition.

In regards to the Modification of Use portion of this 74-711 application, FRIENDS believes that this is a felicitous repurposing of a distinguished building that will continue to contribute to the cultural history and character of Museum Mile. We are, however, not convinced that the proposed bulk modifications relate harmoniously to the building and its neighborhood.

Finally, FRIENDS urges the applicant to continue working with the community and the Commission to come up with a plan that does not encompass a height increase and is more respectful towards neighboring buildings.

Thank you.

LPC Hearing: