Thursday, March 27, 2014


We ask all of you to please do what you can to help save the iconic Rizzoli Bookstore building and its neighbors from demolition by Vornado.  Please visit
As we mentioned before this building clearly qualifies as a landmark, yet the LPC denied its request, despite support from the Community board, and the MBPO.  And to the amazement of everyone the LPC refuses to give an answer as to why it was denied.
If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for our future.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LPC Says “No” to another Vornado building.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will not give last-minute protection to the Rizzoli Bookstore, the century-old building will be demolished by it’s current owners Vornado Realty Trust.
The LPC’s decision came when community outrage about the demolition of the 57th Street building, which Vornado plan to tear down along with two other buildings.
“After a careful review, the Commission determined the building does not meet the criteria for individual landmark designation…” LPC spokeswoman Damaris Olivo said.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wrote a letter urging the commission to hold a public hearing to consider landmarking the building’s interior and exterior in the hopes of protecting it.  MBPO’s office had filed a formal request to have the building landmarked on March 21.
Vornado declined to comment on this.
According to DOB Records, no demolition permit has been filed as of yet.
The 109-year-old building at 31 W. 57th St. is renowned for its “architectural richness and diversity”  Brewer wrote in her letter to LPC on Tuesday.
The bookstore was originally a showroom for the Sohmer Piano Company and was designed in the French Classical style by architect Randolph Amiroty. The LPC has already recognized another building on the so-called Piano Row of current and former piano showrooms, giving protection to the nearby Steinway Hall in 2001.
This is not the first time that officials have pushed to give landmark status to a Vornado building. In 2007, Community Board 5 requested that the Hotel Penn receive protection, but was denied by the LPC.

Monday, March 10, 2014

NYC Council are off the rails at the Moynihan Station development.

City Council member Corey Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Hell’s Kitchen residents are worried that the sale of air rights for the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust’s Moynihan Station redevelopment site could spur overdevelopment.

Johnson and Brewer criticized the Empire State Development Corporation’s efforts to sell 1.5 million square feet of air rights over the alleged lack of transparency. The intention to sell is part of renewed plans to expand New York Penn Station into the James A. Farley post office building. The post office, at 421 Eighth Avenue, would serve as a waiting room for Amtrak passengers.

“The RFP (for a broker) came as an unwelcome surprise to us,” Johnson and Brewer wrote in a letter last week. “We had not been given notice of the timetable for or any indication of a plan or policy to guide the sale of the Farley air rights. … As representatives of this area, we share our community’s concern about significantly increasing density in the immediate area surrounding the station.” [DNAinfo] — Mark Maurer

via Moynihan Station Port Authority | Gale Brewer NYC.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Steve Roth talks about the plans for "renovating" the Hotel Penn

During Vornado's 4th Quarter conference call, Jamie Feldman, a REIT Equity Research Analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, asked the million dollar question to Mr. Roth. 

Q: " should we think about Hotel Penn? Do you think you keep it hotel? Or is it too early to tell?"

Mr. Roth replied:

A: "The answer is, while we are zoned for a 3-million-foot tower -- a financial services headquarters tower, and as I tell my children, you have to look at the deals that almost happened, so that was a deal that almost happened when we were -- we had 2 huge investment banks on that at one time. In any event, the -- it looks to me like the math does not support a tower today. We are nothing if not realistic, and our plan is -- I wanted to say our current plan, I'm going take out the word "current." Our plan is to redevelop the Hotel Pennsylvania. Our objective there is multiples. Number one, we own that building for -- in the low hundreds of millions of dollars. It's worth 6x that or more. So our first objective is to get the hotel to be an asset to the neighborhood, not so much to make money in the hotel but to improve the neighborhood so that the value of our 7 million square feet of surrounding office space goes up. So that means we have to focus very hard on the lobby experience, on the hotel -- on the restaurant experience, the nightlife experience, what have you in that. The second is to make money on the hotel. And we believe every dollar that we put into that hotel in terms of renovation will be rewarded with very, very significant double-digit financial returns. Our third objective is to harvest some of the capital that we have in that building because the building is worth a lot of money, will become worth a lot more, and we have no debt on it and what have you. So that's our financial objective and our environmental objective, if you will, with respect to the hotel."

With that two things come to mind:

1. The plans for the office tower, have not been scrapped, just temporarily sidelined?

2. What two investment banks were "on" at that time?

The above transcript was taken from