Empire State Building opposes height of neighbour

NEW YORK Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:57pm BST

The Manhattan skyline is seen from a helicopter in New York City, April 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young

The Manhattan skyline is seen from a helicopter in New York City, April 22, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A soaring new office tower in New York would disturb views of the Empire State Building and diminish the signature symbol of the city's skyline, the famous skyscraper's managers said on Monday at city council hearings.

Vornado Realty Trust's proposed 67-story building, known as 15 Penn Plaza, would be built two blocks away and stand nearly as tall as the landmark that has stood largely unobstructed in midtown Manhattan since it was built in 1931.

"This is not about banning tall buildings, but about preserving the very uniqueness of the New York City skyline," the Empire State Building said in a statement. "The Empire State Building is the defining building on the city's skyline, and its single most important landmark."

The newcomer would be acceptable if it were shorter and with more setbacks, the Empire State Building's managers say.

Vornado said its building is designed to be a respectful addition to the neighbourhood.

Vornado also said the construction would bring transit improvements including a concourse linking Penn Station to subways and commuter trains, new subway entrances and an expanded subway platform.

The New York City Council was set to hold two hearings on the development on Monday but was not unexpected to vote immediately.

Penn Plaza would be 1,190 feet (363 metres) tall, putting it just shy of the Empire State Building's main structure of 1,250 feet (381 metres).

The 102-story Empire State Building has a 204-foot (62-metre) antenna that puts its peak at 1,454 feet (443 metres).

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta)

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