NEW YORK (WPIX)—Over the towering objections of owners of the Empire State Building, New York's City Council refused to block the construction of a 67-story office tower just blocks away from the iconic skyscraper that has defined the city's skyline for 80 years.
Fearing the new building would obscure Empire's grand vista, owners of the historic building sought to have the project scaled back in size. The Council listened, but in the end decided to approve zoning and land use changes. Councilman Mark Weprin said, "We can't make decisions based on one building. The city has to grow, and it's going to continue to grow."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn insisted the new building a 15 Penn Plaza "would be an addition to our skyline, an addition that would send a message that we will compete as hard as we can for the job of the 21st century."
The project is expected to generate about 6,000 construction jobs in the city. Councilman Charles Barron argued against the building, insisting that minorities would not be able to afford rent in the new skyscraper. "This is a project for the rich, the elite," he declared.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also supported the project and claimed the Empire State Building owner's argument against it was "delusional."
Anthony Malkin conceded he put up the good fight and said the council "had gone out of their way to listen to our position. In the end, it was up to them."
Project developer, Vornado Realty, has not set a date fo0r its construction, nor has it signed on a major commercial tenant.