Matter of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America v. City of New York

623 N.E.2d 526 (1993)

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Matter of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America v. City of New York

New York Court of Appeals
623 N.E.2d 526 (1993)

  • Written by Robert Cane, JD

Facts

New York City (defendant) enacted a landmarks law to preserve and protect its historic buildings. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (commission) oversaw the designation of buildings as landmarks. Later, the city amended the landmarks law to include interior landmarks for protection. In 1959, the Four Seasons restaurant opened in the Seagram Building (building) in New York City. A famous architect, Philip Johnson, created the restaurant interior. The building and the interior were of special historical and aesthetic interest because of the architects involved. In 1980, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (Teachers) (plaintiff) purchased the building. In 1987, Teachers proposed to the commission that the building, including the lobby and outdoor plaza, be designated as a landmark. Later, the operators of the restaurant in the building proposed that the restaurant interior be granted landmark status. Teachers opposed the designation of the restaurant interior as a landmark. Regardless, the commission approved the landmark designation for the building, plaza, lobby, and restaurant interior. The designation of the restaurant interior included its sculptures, bar, drapes, and other items. Teachers appealed the designation of the restaurant interior as a landmark, arguing that an ordinary commercial space may not be landmarked over the objection of the owner and that a restaurant did not meet the public-access requirement of the landmarks law. Alternatively, Teachers argued that even if designation was authorized, designation extended only to items that qualified as fixtures. The appellate court affirmed the decision of the commission. Teachers appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kaye, C.J.)

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