At the Cloisters Museum, which holds the Met’s collection of medieval architecture and art, the beautiful sight of the Hudson river and surrounding cliffs is being threatened by LG Electronics USA’s plan to build an eight-story building on the coveted natural site. If LG goes forward with their building plans, the new HOK designed headquarters will be the sole building to rise above the treetops and break the picturesque sight from the Cloisters' museum grounds in upper Manhattan. The Met, as well as several environmental groups are protesting the construction, and Larry Rockefeller, whose grandfather donated 700 acres along the New Jersey cliffs to keep the pristine view of the Palisades unmarred, has been in negotiation processes with LG.
LG, one of the largest taxpayers in the area, received approval for the intended development last fall by the New Jersey State Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection. The project, designed by HOK, will span 493,000-square-feet and cost an estimated $300 million, which LG has argued will yield jobs and bring in more than a million more dollars in tax revenue.
Several stakeholders are hoping LG will reconsider the building’s height before construction commences. The Met has written a letter to LG requesting they “reconsider the design” and Rockefeller has argued the significance of the landscape to LG officials, telling the New York Times he’s optimistic about a resolution, “No one’s opposed to the building per se. I’m certainly not. It’s just the design of it being tall and so visible.”
Meanwhile, environmental groups and Engelwood residents have filed two lawsuits against LG’s construction project, hoping to encourage a downsizing of design. Still, LG plans to begin construction in Englewood this year, with the new campus being finished by 2016. Perhaps it is time to pay a visit to the Cloisters, before the timeless view is gone forever.