Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bank owner fights landmarking

Owner of former Jamaica Savings bank has not endorsed landmarking
BY NICHOLAS HIRSHON
DAILY NEWS WRITER

The owner of a 110-year-old bank in Jamaica may foil the city's latest attempt to landmark the ornate Beaux-Arts building, which signaled the area's emergence as a cultural center, sources said.

Morris Cohen, who owns the former Jamaica Savings Bank on Jamaica Ave., is reportedly being recalcitrant about designation by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which would require him to get city approval before he changes the facade.

Landmarks officials have met with Cohen so he'd "understand what designation means for the property," said commission spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon. Cohen, who also owns the nearby Conway clothing store, did not return calls seeking comment.

"He's a hard-noser," said Gloria Black, the chairwoman of Queens Community Board 12, who confirmed "some difficulty" in the talks. "He's looking out for himself. Rightfully so. It's his property."

Landmarks officials believe they need Cohen's approval to also win support from City Councilman Leroy Comrie, sources said.

But Comrie (D-St. Albans) told the Daily News he's "flexible" and might reconsider his insistence on Cohen's okay. He labeled the commission "a bunch of chickens" for relying so much on his [Cohen's] opinion.

"We're eager to designate more landmarks in Queens, and look forward to working with Councilmember Comrie - for whom we've always had the highest respect - to achieve this goal," de Bourbon responded.

Still, Comrie wouldn't pledge his support for landmarking.

If Cohen "can show it's economically unfeasible for him to maintain the building [as a landmark], we have to make sure we don't leave that eyesore for another millennium," Comrie said.

Meanwhile, city officials made their pitch on why Cohen should endorse the move. Landmarking often raises real estate values and "gives the wider community a sense of pride," de Bourbon said.

But preservationists worry Cohen's hard-line stance will thwart the process - eventually allowing developers to demolish the bank, and hurting attempts to save other historic sites.

"I'm afraid if that building is not landmarked, the efforts to landmark other buildings will be badly crippled," said Jim Driscoll, president of the Queens Historical Society.


There are sooo many interesting things being revealed here. Just read between the lines.

11 comments:

faster340 said...

we have to make sure we don't leave that eyesore for another millennium," Comrie said.

eyesore? Are you kidding? Compared to that lovely Conway building next door? Now that's the eyesore.

You sure Comrie is really spelled Commie?

Anonymous said...

>>If Cohen "can show it's economically unfeasible for him to maintain the building [as a landmark], we have to make sure we don't leave that eyesore for another millennium," Comrie said. <<<

Well, we know Comrie's opinion: it's an eyesore. I suppose all those new fedders atrocities don't hurt his eyes.

www.forgotten-ny.com

Anonymous said...

Since when do LPC's officials
need Cohen's (or any other owner's) prior approval
to designate a site a NYC landmark ?

Are those lazy prissy cowards
ignorant of their own landmarks law ?

AN OWNER'S PERMISSION IS NOT REQUIRED
in the landmarking process!

Read and re-read the statute!
I don't see that requirement mentioned anywhere.
Do you?

If this were Manhattan
there wouldn't even be any discussion.

Anonymous said...

He's a hard-noser," said Gloria Black, the chairwoman of Queens Community Board 12, who confirmed "some difficulty" in the talks. "He's looking out for himself. Rightfully so. It's his property."
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Nice move Ms Community Board member. You know how to show some real leadership.

Oh, BTW, the city is run for the people, nitwit, not developers.

Anonymous said...

It is his building he has that rightunless we moved to Russia.

Anonymous said...

It is his building he has that right unless we moved to Russia.

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In Russia, the deciding factor is the local mafia, which pays off the system.

In US, the system is SUPPOSED to be run for the benefit of the people.

One standard for all? Just as the people at Willets Pt. THEY don't want to move, but the local political mafia has decided they shall.

threepeat said...

If Comrie doesn't support the landmarking, it's DOA at the Council. The Council already rejected the designation once because of Archie Spigner & it was also rejected once by Donald Manes's vote on the Board of Estimate.

Anonymous said...

Maybe HDC will have a sitdown with Comrie. Maybe after they finish saving yet more townhouses in Manhattan. Enough of those aren't landmarked yet.

Anonymous said...

ownership by proxy?
if the anal retentive types loved this historic building so much, they should have bought it before mr. cohen did, when the area was crack head central. now with the neighborhood on the up and coming. lets empower the local government to tell the hard working risk taker that he has no rights to his own property. an empowered government is a two edge sword, wait when they start writing violations on your property.

Queens Crapper said...

Actually, if the area was crackhead central when Mr. Cohen bought it, then he'll have a hard time explaining how he won't get a good return on his investment if it's landmarked.

Anonymous said...

If Comrie doesn't support the landmarking, it's DOA at the Council.
---------

A this is the problem with the law. The landmarks law does not protect a building because it is historically or architectually significant, but because the local clubhouse hack says its ok.

Thank God garbage pickup and police potection doesnt go through the same process.

Then this city would look like Bagdad.

PS I think the law should be overturned, too.