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Sugar & Plumm Foes to Protest 'Tacky' Candy Store at Landmarks Meeting

By Leslie Albrecht | December 19, 2011 1:29pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — Opponents of a candy store opening soon on the Upper West Side hope to convince the city that the sweets emporium doesn't belong in their neighborhood.

Residents who don't want Sugar & Plumm Purveyors of Yumm to take over five empty storefronts on Amsterdam Avenue and West 78th Street say they'll speak out at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on Tuesday.

The LPC is scheduled to vote on whether to issue a "certificate of appropriateness" for Sugar & Plumm, a combination candy boutique and full-service restaurant plans to open this spring on a long-vacant stretch of Amsterdam Avenue.

Some neighbors say the store, which opened its first location earlier this year in the Bergen Town Center mall in Paramus, N.J. will "degrade" the Upper West Side with "tacky aesthetics."

Sugar & Plumm representatives say the new store will put local residents to work and serve Upper West Side families with "delicious high-quality fresh food," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Sugar & Plumm opponents say on their website that they'll tell the LPC the store doesn't belong on the block because it's too big, will attract too much foot traffic, and will use lighting that's too "garish," among other complaints.

Residents have also said they're upset that Sugar & Plumm will replace five small neighborhood businesses that served locals and replace it with one large store that caters to tourists.

But the LPC vote has little relation to those complaints.

The commission's job is to decide whether the facade changes Sugar & Plumm wants to make could physically damage the exterior of the building, and whether the store's look will blend well with the rest of the neighobrhood, which is part of a historic district, said commission spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon.

Sugar & Plumm wants to open its store on the ground floor of a "neo-Renaissance" style apartment building built in 1929, according to the LPC.

"The LPC doesn't have any jurisdiction over how a building is used," said de Bourbon. "It's a matter of making sure that whatever is being added to the building doesn't destroy or damage the building, and how the changes will relate to the rest of the block and the character of the district."

The LPC is scheduled to vote on Sugar & Plumm's certificate of appropriateness at approximately 3:15 or 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Check the LPC's website for the agenda.