NEW YORK – The Empire State Building’s owner lost his bid to stop a new skyscraper from rising in the neighborhood when the New York City Council approved zoning and land use changes Wednesday that pave the way for the 1,190-foot tower.
The project, called 15 Penn Plaza, is still in the planning stages. Developer Vornado Realty Trust has not set a date for its construction and has yet to sign a major commercial tenant.
But the plans alone for a glass office tower, which would stand higher than the Empire State Building’s 86-floor observatory, infuriated the landmark’s owner, Anthony Malkin, so much that he called it an “assault on New York City and its iconography.”
Council members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the project. They said New York City and its world-famous skyline cannot afford to be frozen in time and must embrace new investments.
“We can’t make decisions based on one building,” said Councilman Mark Weprin. “The city has to grow, and it’s going to continue to grow.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also backed the project this week, dismissing Malkin’s argument as delusional.
Plans envision a 67-story, 1,190-foot-tall office tower two blocks west of the Empire State Building, which stands 102 stories and 1,454 feet but has an 86th-floor observation deck about 1,050 feet above ground.
Malkin had lobbied the council to cut the tower by one-third the proposed height.