Sunday, June 10, 2012
Landmarks Law under attack
Charging that landmarking has grown unwieldy and is threatening economic development in the city, an unlikely alliance of real estate, labor and business groups is joining forces to change the way buildings and districts receive historic status.
The group has launched a website and is planning a barrage of direct mail, newspaper and Internet advertisements to spread its message that historic designations are being granted to unworthy properties; that property owners are being disregarded; and that the Landmarks Preservation Commission is rushing to deem entire districts "historic" without considering the impact on issues like jobs and housing.
The website features a photo of a historic building juxtaposed against one of a gas station, with the message: "The landmarks process is broken when these are both landmarks."
The coalition includes the Real Estate Board of New York, the New York Building Congress, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Building Trade Employers' Association, the Community Housing Improvement Program, the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and 32BJ SEIU.
Members say they don't want to do away with landmarking, rather they want to see the process reined in.
"We're landmarking away a portion of the city's economic future," said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. "Everyone is saying we have to build housing for additional people we're going to get by 2030, but the more we landmark, the more difficult and expensive it is going to be to create that housing."