Business

Former N.J. Governors Join Fight To Save Palisades From LG Headquarters

The Company Wants To Build A New Campus In Englewood Cliffs
Rendering of the LG building rising above the tree line of the Palisades (credit: Scenic Hudson via Protect the Palisades)

Rendering of the LG building rising above the tree line of the Palisades (credit: Scenic Hudson via Protect the Palisades)

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Four former New Jersey governors are joining the battle against a controversial tower on the Palisades.

In New Jersey, the dramatic sheer cliffs of the Palisades are a natural landmark, a historic treasure, reported WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

Over 100 years ago, the women’s clubs of New Jersey, with help from John D. Rockefeller and J.Pierpont Morgan, helped to preserve the cliff line stretching from Fort Lee all the way into New York State.

When Michele Byers, head of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, asked four governors to implore LG Electronics not to build a tower that would soar above the tree line in Englewood Cliffs and mar the vista, they didn’t even blink.

Rendering of LG's campus in Englewood Cliffs (credit: LG)

Rendering of LG’s campus in Englewood Cliffs (credit: LG)

Brendan Byrne, Jim Florio, Tom Kean, and Christie Whitman, who have a combined 27 years running the Garden State, have requested that LG instead do a low-rise redesign for their 143-foot tall proposal.

LINKS: Protect The Palisades (FB) | LG Englewood Cliffs (Web)

“This is a positive letter asking LG to redesign to respect this American landmark. It’s not asking them to leave or not build their building. There’s a way this can happen that works for everybody,” Byers told Adams. “Not only can LG have what it needs for its business, producing the jobs that are needed for this state, but also, at the same time, respecting and protecting the Palisades.”

Here is the full text of the letter to LG’s Vice Chaiman Bon-Joon Koo:

Dear Vice-Chairman Koo, 

We, the undersigned former Governors of the State of New Jersey ask for your consideration of our request regarding your proposal to erect a new headquarters building in New Jersey. LG Electronics has been a welcome member of the Bergen County community for many years, and the jobs and overall investment of your company make an important contribution to the economy of New Jersey. In that regard, we understand that LG plans to construct its new building in Englewood Cliffs, by the Palisades Interstate Park. 

The Palisades have remained a landscape of unbroken, natural beauty in a heavily developed metropolitan area, appreciated by generations of residents and visitors. The dramatic formation that inspired painters of the Hudson River School of American Artists in the 19th century has been protected for over 100 years through the efforts of citizens and elected officials. The Palisades are included in the National Natural Landmarks Program administered by the National Parks Service, and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.The Palisades are one of the great landscapes of New Jersey, forming a scenic gateway to the most densely populated state, and a recreational resource enjoyed by millions. 

As currently designed, LGs proposed office building would rise high above the tree line  143 feet above graderoughly four times higher than the existing 35-foot limit that has been maintained in this area for decades. We are concerned that this tower would not only interrupt the historic, natural vista enjoyed by millions, but would also set a precedent for greater building 
heights stretching northward along these iconic cliffs, eroding the unique 
American landmark of the Palisades. 

Given your generously sized 27-acre site, it is our hope that a beneficial resolution can be reached through a low-rise design that fully accommodates the companys needs for new office space while ensuring the integrity of the Palisades ridgeline and park. Such a balanced approach would enable economic development at the same time as a critical natural asset is preserved for the future. Finally, your willingness to respect and protect one of Americas National Natural Landmarks would be a lasting legacy for LG. 

We appreciate your consideration of our request.

There has been no comment from LG as legal challenges to the office tower are in mediation.

In the past, though, the South Korean company and local officials have touted the economic benefits of this project.

The governors are not the only big names who have written to LG in opposition to the new building. Actress Bette Midler, who founded the New York Restoration Project, wrote the company. You can read her letter here.