A skyscraper billed as a rival to the iconic Empire State Building was approved Wednesday by the New York City Council.
The 1,190-foot '15 Penn Plaza' is planned for two blocks west of the Empire State Building, drawing criticism that it will alter New York's famed skyline. Anthony Malkin, owner of the 80-year-old Empire State Building, called the project an "assault on New York City and its iconography."
But the council overwhelmingly rejected that argument.
"Anybody that builds a building in New York City changes its skyline--we don't have to run around to every other owner and apologize," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters. "One guy owns a building, he'd like to have it be the only tall building--I'm sorry, that's not the real world.
Developed by the Vornado Realty Trust, a New York-based REIT, the new 67-story office tower will be shorter than the 102-story Empire State Building. But 15 Penn Plaza will loom above the building's popular 1,050-foot-high observation deck.
Vornado overcame many of the objections by offering to improve the neighborhood's transit and subway connections.
"Our skyline is always changing and growing," City Council speaker Christine Quinn said at the meeting. "New York City is not a stagnant city."