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Skyline showdown: ESB owner riled by proposed skyscraper

Sure to change the city’s iconic skyline if approved, the proposal for a 67-story skyscraper in the shadow of the Empire State Building is facing stiff opposition from some local officials as it faces key City Council votes today and tomorrow.

“We view this as an assault on New York City and its iconography,” Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin testified yesterday at a City Council hearing.

If constructed, 15 Penn Plaza would be one of two proposed skyscrapers that would become the sixth tallest buildings in the city.

“It’s a tower that’s utterly lacking in details,” said Wally Rubin, district manager of Community Board 5, which had voted 36-1 against the project. “It’s ill-advised.”

He and other critics cited a lack of information on the building’s cost, financing and tenants.

Developer Vornado Realty Trust is looking to tear down the old Hotel Pennsylvania at Seventh Avenue and West 33rd Street for the building, which would have more than 2 million square feet of space for a big financial firm and other companies.

In return for eight city zoning waivers, Vornado would make more than $100 million in transit improvements, including expanding nearby subway entrances and reopening an underground passage between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

“It will improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of commuters,” Vornado executive, David Greenbaum, said during the hearing.

The proposal, which has the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would go before council committees today and the entire council tomorrow. Approval will send the plan to the city Planning Department, where it will likely be OK’d.

(With AP)


How high?

With a number of skyscrapers in the works, here’s what the city’s tallest buildings would be:

1. One World Trade Center (to be completed in 2013): 1,776 feet

2. Empire State Building (including spire): 1,454 feet

3. Two World Trade Center (to be completed in 2014): 1,350 feet

4. Hudson Place Tower I (proposed for Hudson Yards): 1,300 feet

5. Three World Trade Center (to be completed in 2014): 1,240 feet

6. Manhattan West Tower I (proposed for Hudson Yards): 1,216 feet

6. (tied) 15 Penn Plaza: 1,216 feet

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