Crawford Clothes Building: designation denied

Landmarks threatens to abandon process of contacting the owner prior to designation. By a unanimous vote on May 17, 2005, Landmarks refused to designate the Crawford Clothes Building at University Place and West 14th Street, which was considered one of the earliest noteworthy designs of New York City architect Morris Lapidus. The three-story brick and metal retail structure had included a glass center tower that revealed the retail activity on each level, but which the owner demolished before Landmarks could consider the structure.

Opening the discussion, Chair Robert Tierney provided a sequence of events, noting that Landmarks decided the building was worthy of consideration on February 1, 2005 and sent a letter of interest to the owner, Lloyd Goldman, six days later.On March 1st, Goldman filed a demolition permit solely for the glass tower. Tierney made several calls to Goldman up until the March 8th demolition. When the tower was demolished, the remainder of the building was left intact.

Calling the events “unfortunate and deeply disturbing,” Tierney stated that Landmarks would change its policy of early outreach to owners of potential landmarks. Tierney then voted against the designation, noting that no value remained in the building and Landmarks could not act punitively. Several commissioners noted that the process at Buildings, which allows developers to self-certify permit applications, was placing the work of Landmarks in jeopardy.

Landmarks unanimously voted to deny the designation.

LPC: Crawford Clothes Building, 36 East 14th Street (LP-2176) (May 17, 2005) (Shelly Friedman, Friedman and Gotbaum, LLP, for Goldman).

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