Friday, August 17, 2012

NYC: The Rainbow Room

The famous NYC landmark, the Rainbow Room closed in 2009, when the owners of Rockefeller Plaza evicted the restaurant operators. a part of the feud between the owners and operators was the application by the operators for a listing as a historic landmark under New York City historic regulations. While the operators are now long gone, the New York Historic Commission is now getting around to a public hearing on the application. It is scheduled for September 11 of this year, as the NY Times reports.

A part of the reason for the application in the first place would seem logically have been to put pressure on the building owners. Certainly, once the restaurant was landmarked, it would be harder for the owners to lease to any other person, and consequently, its value as rental property would also be diminished. Thus the owners of the building may not be enthusiastic in their support for the application.

It will be interesting to see what the landmarks commission actually does. the commission has previously given landmark status to a restaurant separately from the building itself in the case of the Seagram Building and the Four Seasons Restaurant. In that case as well, both the building and the restaurant were given landmark status. The building owner objected to a separate classification for the restaurant, but supported the landmark status as to the building. One must assume that similar economic factors were involved in the request for landmark status for the restaurant and the position of the owner. There's another NY Times article on the Four Seasons decision here.

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