Landmark Preservation Commission Approves Park Avenue Historic District

Land Use

After lengthy public hearings on the proposed Park Avenue Historic District in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, an interesting coalition of supporters came together to preserve sixty-four (64) buildings in a district which  runs up Park Avenue from the northeast corner of 79th Street to 91st Street.  Among the likely supporters of the initiative were various preservationist and landmark conservation associations along with the American Institute of Architects, members of the New York City Council, Community Boards, and several religious organizations located within the district.

An unlikely proponent of the historic designation is Toll Brothers, a prominent real-estate development firm which recently demolished two pre Civil War era homes located within the Historic District to make way for a new development located at 1110 Park Avenue.  The razing of the two historic homes sparked outrage within the community and rallied bastions of support for the recently designated Park Avenue Historic District.  Rising from the rubble where the two historic homes once stood is Toll Brothers’ sixteen story building containing luxury condominiums which will reportedly fetch a total value asking price of $176 million.  Ironically, Tolls Brothers now stands to gain the most from the creation of the historic district.

Oddly enough, preservationists say that developers often come to embrace the creation of historic districts as long as their economic interests are secure.  Approximately 27.7% of Manhattan’s buildings are located within historic districts. Proposals to alter or develop buildings located within historic districts fall within the jurisdiction of the Landmark Preservation Commission (the “LPC”) and are subject to the LPC’s approval.  Once a building falls within a historic district, the LPC may impose restrictions and limitations to any proposed development or alteration.  This could seriously limit potential profits from development and can create uncertainty as to the future potential of existing buildings.

On the flip side, being located within a historic district could give recently completed developments, like 1110 Park Avenue, a massive leg up on the competition.  Future developments within the Park Avenue Historic District are subject to the LPC’s rules and approval, making it significantly more difficult to redevelop properties within the district.

Where and when the next historic district will be created in New York City is uncertain.  What is certain is that the historical designation of property affects its present and future values.

Follow our blog for updates on these matters and contact us if you would benefit from learning more about the zoning designation of your property.


Leave a Reply