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Lollipop makeover gets a green light from Buildings Department.

It looks like the days of 2 Columbus Circle are numbered. Despite opposition from various preservation groups and architecture critics, the New York City Buildings Department recently issued permits for the reconstruction of the building's facade and interior.

2 Columbus Circle, better known as the Lollipop Building for the shape of its marble columns, has been at the center of a public battle about the meaning of landmark status for several years now, with a local community group, Landmark West, fighting tooth and nail to keep the structure from being altered.

The building's defenders have claimed that, even though 2 Columbus Circle is an admittedly odd work of architecture, it should be preserved because of its unique role in New York City's history. All efforts to save the Lollipop's odd facade were lost, however, after the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission refused to grant it landmark status without even holding a hearing on the case.

Now, 2 Columbus Circle, which is being purchased by the American Museum of Arts & Design to serve as its new headquarters, is bound to undergo a dramatic transformation by Allied Works Architecture and Handel & Associates. The architects plan to do a substantial amount of changes to the structure, including the addition of windows to its famously windowless facade. In a statement, Holly Hotchner, director of the Museum, said: "The Museum applied for these permits when the contract was signed, in anticipation of moving forward. Work will begin after the Museum closes on the purchase of 2 Columbus Circle." Designed by noted modernist architect, Edward Durell Stone, in 1964, the building was originally used for the storage of a private art collection. New York City bought the Lollipop in 1975 and used it as a home for its Cultural Affairs Department until 1998. In 2002, it reached an agreement with the American Museum of Arts & Design to sell 2 Columbus Circle for $17 million. Landmark West then sued the city for not following proper sale procedures, a claim the New York State Appellate Court turned down in March of this year.
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Author:Misonzhnik, Elaine
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jul 13, 2005
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