Extell Files to Demolish Two More Fifth Avenue Buildings For Its Mega-Midtown Assemblage

May 3, 2016

Back in January, 6sqft reported that the busybodies at Extell Development filed permits to demolish a string of six tumble-turned walk-up buildings between 3 and 13 West 46th Street in Midtown. Now, as expected, the Gary Barnett-led firm has filed permits to demolish the Warren & Wetmore-designed corner building at 562 Fifth Avenue and a somewhat incongruous Tudor-style building at 564 Fifth Avenue.

While none of the condemned buildings are extraordinary in design, 562 Fifth Avenue is perhaps a more tasteful affair than much of the schlock going up these days. Designed by the same architects as Grand Central Terminal, the slivery 13-story commercial building was once known as the I. Miller Building and features intricately ornamented spandrel areas, a pedimented roofline, and an unoriginal albeit charming Fifth Avenue storefront.

570 Fifth Avenue
The soon to be gone I. Miller Building at 562 Fifth Avenue (L); Caroline S. Harper mansion that previously stood at the site (R)

Just last week, Untapped Cities published a thorough history of the building site going back to when it was the four-story mansion of Caroline S. Harper. They report that in 1909, florist Charles Thorley moved his blossoming flower business to the location and made extensive renovations that included “adding French architecture, painting the building white with green trim, and placing green vines and shrubs all along the Fifth Avenue side.” The American Florist reported in 1916, “the whole effect was stunning and bound to arrest the attention of the thousands that pass by every hour.” Let’s hope whatever Extell produces will result in half the interest.

The other building now officially on the chopping block is the Tudor-style building at 564-568 Fifth Avenue that was once the home of Edmund L. Goodman’s menswear store known as Finchley’s Castle. Blogger Dayton in Manhattan wrote that in 1924, Goodman zeroed in on the Fifth Avenue prime address and commissioned architect Beverly King to re-imagine the building with an English-like atmosphere to match “the tweeds and ties and King produced.” While the building’s ground level was butchered in the 1970s, its upper levels remained intact, “echoing Elizabethan England.”

564 Fifth Ave 3
More recent view of the assemblage

These two latest filings bring the official count of of doomed pre-wars to ten buildings. In March, Extell submitted an application to raze a portly 13-story building at 2 West 47th Street that the Time’s Christopher Gray reported was at one point a kind of architectural center. In addition, demolition applications were recently reprocessed for 570 and 574 Fifth Avenue, garnering the developer almost 125 feet of coveted Fifth Avenue frontage and bringing the footprint to nearly 30,000 square feet.

Extell Development, Fifth AvenueRendering of what Thor Equities planned at 564 Fifth Avenue before selling to Extell

While no one knows what exactly the clandestine developer has planned, the Post reported that they may be considering an “internal” shopping mall within the development’s podium with an an apartment tower or hotel rising above.


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