Landmarks Leaves Door Slightly Ajar for Foster

A bad marriage or an open door? How best to characterize the reaction from Tuesday morning’s Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting on Norman Foster’s 22-story tower for 980 Madison Avenue?

The Real Estate called the principal actors for comment, having been unable to attend in person.

“Nine out of 10 commissioners strongly opposed the current project because of the height, the scale, and the materials were inapporpiate for the district,” said commission spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon. “They felt the building did not relate well with the Parke-Bernet building.”

One commissioner, the Rev. Thomas Pike, even called it a “bad marriage.”

But the developer, Aby Rosen, was ready for a lot worse.

“From our perspective, it went quite well,” said Rosen’s spokeswoman. “Nobody was closing the door and saying, ‘Absolutely not. You can’t build something on top of the Parke-Bernet building.’”

At least the commission did not take a vote, permitting the Foster-Rosen team to come back in a few months with a revised plan.

- Matthew Schuerman