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Sides Dig In Over Empire State Building Rival Proposal

15 Penn Plaza Would Be Only 34 Feet Shorter Than Icon
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NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — Both sides battling over a proposed new tower to be built near the Empire State Building were in the same room Monday. Each said the other guy has it wrong when it comes to the best vision for New York City.

CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport has the details on the skyscraper showdown.

The tussle over the towers went before a zoning and franchises subcommittee Monday, with both sides making their case at a public hearing.

“This is an appropriate building and there is no adverse effect as it relates to the Empire State Building,” said David Greenbaum of Vornado Realty Trust.

In one corner is Vornado Realty Trust, the developer that’s hoping to build a 67-story, 1,200-foot tower called 15 Penn Plaza within a few block radius of the Empire State Building, touting it would create new jobs and office space.

“We are talking here about world class architecture by Pelli Clarke Pelli who have designed some of the great buildings across the planet,” Greenbaum said.

“We love the [Empire State] building, they love the building, New York City loves the building, we respect the building. We do not think that somehow the building is in any way blocked, defaced by having another major building in the skyline of New York.”

In the other corner is Anthony Malkin, the co-owner of the Empire State Building.

“This is a size 22 foot in a size 12 shoe. It’s too bloody big,” said Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings.

Malkin said the proposed tower would block views of his iconic building from the west and forever alter the New York City skyline.

The developer and the Empire State Building team presented their versions of what the skyline would look like.

“Most of the renderings that we’ve seen from them are grossly inaccurate,” Greenbaum said.

Malkin took out a full page ad in the New York Times on Monday opposing the new tower and released a new poll he commissioned that says 82 percent of people believe it would alter the character of the city’s skyline, with 71 percent of those saying it would degrade it.

“When people learn about 15 Penn Plaza and the prospect it presents they do not like it,” Malkin said.

Malkin said an acceptable tower should be about 850 feet tall and 1,500 to 2,000 feet away from the Empire State Building.

“There is no consideration to that. No,” Greenbaum said.

Final approval of the new tower — or not — could be decided by Wednesday.

Committee meetings leading up to that final vote are scheduled for Tuesday.

New Yorkers have not been silent on the proposal. “That’s disrespectful for the Empire State Building,” resident Steven Ciancanelli said.

“They can’t block that view. Empire State Building, that’s big for the city,” resident Rumel Bradley said.

“I’m sure no one is going to want to see that building when they can see the Empire State Building,” one New Yorker said.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said the building would create jobs, office space and would give “people a sense that we are building again in New York City.”

“I’m for it, I’m for anything that creates jobs, things progress,” an out-of-work construction worker said.

Some wouldn’t mind the addition to the skyline.

“I live in Hoboken and it’s kind of empty, it might be nice to have a friend,” Ken said.

But New Yorkers, who see the Empire State Building every day, have some thoughts of their own. “The Empire State Building is a landmark. We want to be able to see it wherever we are,” said resident Beverly Coleman.

“It symbolizes the city,” another New Yorker said.

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