Four Seasons Renovation Plans Shot Down by Landmarks Preservation Commission

Posted On Wed, May 20, 2015 By

Posted On Wed, May 20, 2015 By In Interiors, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown East, Restaurants

Photo via Le Travelist

Aby Rosen’s plans to update the Four Seasons has been squashed by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. According to Crain’s, the only upgrade that received a nod from the commission was a request to change the carpet. Bigger renovations, like replacing a non-original fissured glass partition with planters and to replace a fixed walnut panel between the public and private dining rooms with a movable one, were all rejected. “There is no good reason why they should make these changes,” said Meenakshi Srinivasan, the commission’s chairwoman, Crain’s reports. “There’s no rationale. The space could function perfectly well without these changes, so why do it?”

Four Seasons renovation, Annabelle Selldorf, Seagram Building, NYC interior landarksRendering of the proposed renovation by Annabelle Selldorf 

As we previously reported, preservationists and the owners of The Four Seasons restaurant had vehemently opposed any such changes to the interiors of the landmarked property. Amongst the bunch to speak out was starchitect Robert A.M. Stern who was quoted by the Journal saying, “It is an ill-advised renovation that will affect the quality of the room. It is one of the great rooms in New York, and one of the few great modernist rooms.” He was joined by Montreal-based architect Phyllis Lambert (whose father Samuel Bronfman owned Seagram Co.) who added that the changes were “pretty well unacceptable.”

Although a win for those championing to keep the modernist treasure untouched, The Four Seasons restaurant’s lease at the landmark does however expire in July 2016, and Rosen hasn’t committed to keeping the restaurant in the space. As such, the owners of the Four Seasons restaurant have been looking to other locations in the area, but nothing has been decided and the future of the restaurant still remains up in the air. Following the Landmarks hearing, restaurant co-owner Alex von Bidder told Crain’s that the decision “has no effect on our lease. Our lease is a separate document that has nothing to do with landmarking. So stay tuned is all I can say.”

You can learn more about the restaurant and the building’s architectural significance in our previous feature here.

[Via Crain’s]

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