108 Leonard street

History, Landmarks Preservation Commission, New Developments, Tribeca

Images of the 108 Leonard’s newly restored facade courtesy of Hundred Stories PR

Update 4/1/19: The New York State Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled against a group of preservationists who sued to stop developers from turning a historic clock tower into a penthouse. According to the judge, the LPC does not have the authority to give access to the building and the agency’s plan to make the 19th-century clock run electronically is reasonable.

Developers had big plans for the luxury condominiums they were creating at the block-long former site of the New York Life Insurance Company at 346 Broadway (also known as 108 Leonard Street) since purchasing it from the city in 2014. The new residential project would hold 140 units starting at $1.5 million, capped by a stunning penthouse that would be priced at over $20 million. The one snag in this golden opportunity: The building’s iconic Clock Tower–sometimes called New York’s ‘Big Ben,’ which sits atop the building and was designated an interior landmark in 1987. The clock must be wound by hand, a process which requires access through, as the New York Times reports, the future penthouse. A case against the developers’ plan and a subsequent appeal were both won by the opponents, saying the LPC couldn’t unwind the clock’s landmark status–but an appeal in the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, is still pending.

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