Concerned Bronx elected officials and advocates are taking a negative view an office tower plan that would spoil Bronx views of the pristine New Jersey Palisades.
An electronics manufacturer recently won a court fight to put up a 143-foot office building north of the George Washington Bridge that would violate a height restriction preventing new buildings from reaching above the tree line.
This kept pristine views of the mountains intact for visitors to cultural institutions like Wave Hill in Riverdale, and for Bronx nature lovers.
After a zoning variance granted in Englewood Cliffs, NJ was upheld by Bergen County Superior Court, Bronx elected officials gathered Thursday, Aug. 15 at the College of Mount Saint Vincent to call on LG Electronics Corporation to build their new North American headquarters horizontally, instead of vertically.
Congressman Eliot Engel, Senator Jeff Klein, Senator Adriano Espaillat, and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, Riverdale’s Community Board 8 chairman Robert Fanuzzi and Wave Hill executive director Claudia Bonn, along with activists from both sides of the Hudson, showed up to protest.
“The Palisades are a timeless treasure that exists nowhere else in the world,” said Engel. “It is unheard of for a large city like New York to have such a dramatic and beautiful view of nature. LG has to be a better corporate citizen and not desecrate this site with this building.”
Klein argued the plan will set a bad precedent that may lead to destruction of views of the Palisades as Bronxites know them.
“This is not just about one company, or one building. Erecting a building that will tower above the treetops will set an irreversible course for the permanent destruction of the Palisades. If we allow one – many will follow.”
LG has a campus about the same size – roughly 27 acres – as Wave Hill, the borough’s botanical garden and cultural institution on the cliffs above the Hudson River, said Bonn, noting that the firm could easily re-configure the office complex’s design.
“The founding family of Wave Hill was very instrumental in originally protecting the Palisades in the early 1900s,” said Bonn. “So it is really apart of the DNA of Wave Hill.”
LG spokesman John Taylor said that its proposed complex will be built a quarter-mile back from the cliffs on private property, and is expected to be a major driver of economic development for the area.
“LG Electronics’ new North American headquarters is a $300 million project that will not ‘harm the Palisades,’ as you are hearing from the opposition,” he argued.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393