UPPER EAST SIDE — A developer's long shot proposal to partially demolish one of the neighborhood's oldest buildings and replace it with a high-rise residence is set to go before Community Board 8 Wednesday.
JHSF Participacoes S.A.'s proposal to redevelop the townhouse at 815 Fifth Ave. — believed to be the oldest building on the thoroughfare from the beginning of Central Park uptown — into a towering, 19-story apartment building was shot down by board members, according to the board and a report by The Real Deal.
The development's designer, who the Real Deal reported is Timothy Greer of Connecticut-based TP Greer Architects, came up with a shorter, less modern-looking motif. But the design still hasn't passed muster with neighborhood architecture buffs, said CB8 landmarks committee member Elizabeth Ashby.
"It was going to be limestone. It had punched windows and a cornice. It is slightly modern but you know, that's OK. It was respectful of the character. It is much more sympathetic to the design of the street, and if had been a vacant site, I wouldn't have objected," Ashby said of the new design. "But in order to build it, he has to take down a historic building.
"You really cant take away the oldest building on Fifth Avenue," she added.
Residents from neighboring buildings protested the proposal by the board's February meeting, saying they were worried that the planned high-rise would block their views and be an aesthetic misfit on the stately, historic block.
The community board's will vote over on the project will likely be decided Wednesday. The Landmarks Preservation Commission, which factors in the community board's decision, will have ultimate say whether the project can proceed.