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Locals Look to Landmark Clock Tower Building in Queens Plaza

 Residents who live near the former Bank of Manhattan building in Queens Plaza — known for its iconic clock tower — are pushing to see the structure recognized as a New York City landmark.
Residents who live near the former Bank of Manhattan building in Queens Plaza — known for its iconic clock tower — are pushing to see the structure recognized as a New York City landmark.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

LONG ISLAND CITY — Residents who live near the former Bank of Manhattan building in Queens Plaza — known for its clock tower — are pushing to see the structure landmarked.

Matthew Chrislip and Michael Hall recently came before Queens Community Board 1 seeking support for their efforts.

"We both fell in love with the Clock Tower building — we both pass it everyday. Its presence on Queens Plaza sort of can't be denied," said Hall, who has a background in historical and sustainable architecture.

Hall said they were inspired to start their campaign after witnessing the rapid development taking place in the neighborhood.

"It seemed like every block around Queens Plaza has construction projects going," he said.

They sent a request to the Landmarks Preservation Commission this spring asking the agency to evaluate the site. The LPC is reviewing the building, according to a spokeswoman.

The pair is now working to get community members to submit letters of support for landmarking the tower, which they say was built in 1927 and designed by architect Morrell Smith, who also designed the Jamaica Savings Bank building at 146-21 Jamaica Ave., which was given landmark status in 2010.

The building, located at 29-27 Queens Plaza North, across from Dutch Kills Green, "commands that corner, which is a very high traffic corner," said Chrislip, a designer. "It's very visible."

If given the designation, alterations to the building would need to be approved by the LPC, according to the agency's website. Hall and Chrislip say their request only applies to the property's exterior, not its interior.

"We are not opposed to development, but we think it's important to protect worthy buildings like the Clock Tower," Hall told members of CB1 at their recent monthly meeting. The board voted to support the campaign.

The Clock Tower was recently home to The Holocenter, a holographic arts group which left the space last spring. Arts organization No Longer Empty also staged an exhibit in the building last year.

The Criterion Group purchased the property for $15 million in May. Calls to the company seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Those interested in learning more about Hall and Chrislip's efforts can email them at everyone@pluspartners.org.