Residents Rail Against Current MoMA Skyscraper Plans

A planned 75-story residential skyscraper connected to the Museum of Modern Art seems headed for a fight with area residents, who claim the Jean Nouvel-designed tower would be dramatically out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood.

The proposed condo and hotel tower at 53 West 53rd Street, which would rise next door to and contain 50,000 square feet of added space for the museum, was hailed by New York Times’ architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff as “the most exhilarating addition to the skyline in a generation.”

Given a complex set of air-rights transfers, the developers of the tower, Hines, would need a set of public approvals, starting with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, and ultimately the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

A Community Board 5 committee, which has an advisory role, unanimously voted against the development rights transfers last week, and the full board votes Thursday.

“The scale is just totally inappropriate in a low-rise area,” said RitaSue Siegel, vice president of a block association by the site.