Landmarks holds hearings on the Plaza’s interiors

The Plaza’s new owners testify in support, claiming $350 million to be spent on restoration. Landmarks held two public hearings in June on the proposed designation of interior spaces in the Plaza Hotel, including the Oak Room and Oak Bar, the Terrace and Edwardian Rooms, the Palm Court, the Grand Ballroom’s first floor, and the two entrance lobbies at West 59th Street and Grand Army Plaza. While the exterior of the Plaza was designated an individual landmark in 1969, no interior rooms were designated. Landmarks voted in March to consider the interior designations after the Plaza’s new owners, Elad Properties, filed a change of use application with the City seeking to permit permanent retail space in areas like the Terrace and Edwardian Rooms, historically used as hotel function rooms. See 2 CityLand 41 (Apr. 15, 2005).

The Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council, AIA and the Municipal Arts Society testified with others in support of the designation at the first hearing on June 7, 2005, but Elad failed to testify. At the June 28th hearing, Landmarks heard testimony on three applications: the potential designation; the application to change the use, which needed Landmarks review of the preservation purpose relating to the change; and a permit for proposed alterations to the Plaza’s exterior, which included enlarging some window openings.

At the combined hearing, Elad explained its agreement with the Bloomberg Administration to retain 350 hotel rooms and to maintain food and beverage service within the Oak Room and Bar, the Palm Court and the Grand Ballroom.

Testifying that “from day one, [Elad] considered each room a landmark,” Elad stated that it supported the interior designations and projected a $350 million cost for its planned Plaza restoration.

Extensive testimony followed from the Plaza’s preservation and project architects about the exterior changes and the analysis of the interiors’ condition for Elad’s overall preservation plan. A vote is tentatively scheduled for July 12th on the designation and the other permits.

LPC: The Plaza Hotel Interiors, 768 Fifth Avenue (LP-2174) (June 7, 2005; June 28, 2005) (Jay A. Segal, Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Bill Higgins, Higgins & Quasebarth; David West, Costas Kondylis & Partners LLP; for Elad Properties).

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