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Approval for skyscraper to go up near New York’s Empire State Building

An artist’s impression of the proposed 15 Penn Plaza Centre (centre). Photo/HO/ Clarke Pelli Architects /AFP

An artist’s impression of the proposed 15 Penn Plaza Centre (centre). Photo/HO/ Clarke Pelli Architects /AFP

City authorities approved plans to build a 67-floor skyscraper near New York City’s tallest structure, the Empire State Building, over objections from owners of the iconic landmark.

The full city council overwhelmingly approved the project in a 47-1 vote. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already voiced support for the building.

The new skyscraper, currently named 15 Penn Plaza and designed by the architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli, will go up two blocks from the Empire State building and across the street from Penn Station, a major bus and rail hub.

Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin had asked the city to reject approval, arguing that the new structure would ruin the view from his legendary art deco building, raised in 1931.

“This is not about banning tall buildings, but about preserving the very uniqueness of the New York City skyline,” the Empire State Building owners said in a statement.

Mayor Bloomberg dismissed the claim. The new structure “would be a great addition to our skyline”, he said recently.

“Penn Station is one of the transportation hubs of the world, so it would be easy for people to get it. I think it would be a phenomenally popular building,” he said.

The Empire State Building, at 102 floors and a height of 381 meters – 443 meters including its broadcast tower – is the city’s tallest structure.

It became the tallest building after the September 11, 2001 attacks destroyed One World Trade Centre, which had 104 floors and was 541 meters tall.

The new building would have 67 floors and be 370 metres tall, the builders said.

The office building, which will have stores in the ground floor, will guarantee the creation of 8,000 permanent jobs, 15 Penn Plaza supporters said.

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