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The 20-story apartment building at 220 Central Park South may be demolished by the Clarett Group and replaced by a 41-story condominium tower designed by Pelli Clark Pelli, the firm that designed One Beacon Court on Lexington Avenue and 59th Street, the Museum of Modern Art tower on East 53rd Street and the World Financial Center at Battery Park City.

This 20-story, light-gray brick building was erected in 1954 and was designed by Mayer & Whittlesley and M. Milton Glass. It has 124 rental apartments. Mayer & Whittlesley also designed 40 and 240 Central Park South, which, like 220 Central Park South, are through-block buildings that extend to 58th Street.

In their excellent book, "New York 1960 Architecture and Urbanism Between The Second World War and The Bicentennial," (The Monacelli Press, 1995), Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman provide the following commentary about this building:

"Replacing three nineteenth-century rowhouses, and an apartment building, all built by the Appleby family, number 220 had as its immediate neighbor to the west Charles Buckham's Gainsborough Studios (1908), one of the most distinguished examples of the 'artist's studio' apartment house type that flourished before the first World War. Unfortunately, neither the character of its neighbor nor the previous efforts of Mayer & Whittlesley influenced the design. The twenty-story building had coarsely detailed rows of double-hung aluminum windows set in white brick, corner balconies and a blocky elevator penthouse; a similarly dismal building faced Fifty-eight Street and was separated from its companion by a garden. The setback base of the building on Central Park South compromised the street wall that was so critical to the framing of the park."

The building has a two-step-down entrance, a revolving front door, a concierge, protruding air-conditioners, a garage, and spiked sidewalk landscaping. It is to the west of a fire engine company on 58th Street.

About 80 tenants in the building were notified yesterday that they could face eviction proceedings because of the planned demolition.

There are about 40 vacant apartments, about 45 rent-stabilized tenants and no rent-controlled tenants in the building. The remaining "market-rate" tenants would be asked to leave when their leases expire, or possibly to remain on month-to-month basis until the plan is completed.

Veronica W. Hackett, the managing partner of The Clarett Group, told today that it plans to offer "substantial" relocation assistance and has a "geriatic counselor" to assist elderly tenants and has no plans "to throw tenants out on the street."

The new building would be the tallest on the block, but Ms. Hackett indicated that architectural plans have not yet been finalized.

The Clarett Group?s projects include the 55-story Sky House condominium tower under construction at 11 West 29th Street, Place 57, which is under construction at 207 East 57th Street, Chelsea House at 130 West 19th Street, 2770 Broadway, the Montrose at 308 East 38th Street, the Post Toscana at 389 East 89th Street and the Post Luminaria at 385 First Avenue.
Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.