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Empire State Building Declares War On Proposed Rival Skyscraper

For decades, the Empire State Building has claimed the high skies of Midtown Manhattan, but a proposed skyscraper that will stand just two blocks away from the iconic building may soon change all that.

Owners of the Empire State Building were fuming Friday, lashing out at plans for a 67-story, glass-walled tower that will soar 1,216 - just 34 feet shorter than their prized possession. Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, the company that owns and operates the Empire State Building, claims resurrecting the building will grossly change the city's skyline, calling the proposed tower a "monstrosity."

According to Malkin, his opposition to the building has nothing to do with facing new competition for tenants, rather his gripe centers around the proximity the proposed building has to the world-famous Empire State Building.

Developers plan to resurrect the towering skyscraper, called 15 Penn Plaza, at the current location of the Hotel Pennsylvania located at Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street. With Empire sitting just 900 feet away at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, the two buildings will be duking it out daily for the limelight.

"The Empire State Building is the internationally recognized icon on the skyline of New York City," Malkin told PIX 11 News in an emailed statement. "We are its custodians, and must protect its place. Would a tower be allowed next to The Eiffel Tower or Big Ben's clock tower?"

Although 12 Penn Plaza has already won preliminary approval from the city's Planning Commission, the City Council will open the floor Monday to a public hearing on the project. There, Empire State owners plan to lay out a case opposing the planned skyscraper.

"We are working with other New Yorkers and concerned parties who care about this landmark to write and speak to the City Council and its Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on August 23 in opposition to this effort to mar permanently the iconic signature which creates the world's most famous skyline," Malkin said in a statement Friday.

Vornado Realty Trust, developers behind the 15 Penn Plaza project, did not immediately release a statement on the apparent controversy.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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