UPDATED: Wizarding World Store in Dispute with Community Board over Signage Plans
A new Wizarding World store planned for the New York City borough of Manhattan finds itself in hot water with the local community board over its exterior signage.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Warner Bros. has planned a retail concept store called Wizarding World at the corner of Broadway and East 22nd Street, but Manhattan Community Board Five isn’t too happy about the design of the store’s exterior signage.
Located in the historic Flatiron District, the building itself was built in the 1860s and has local significance.
The block-long building, commissioned by real estate mogul Richard Mortimer and known as ‘the Mortimer Building,’ is significant because it was one of the earliest properties in the Flatiron District built solely for commercial use. When it opened, its tenants included jewelers, dry-goods businesses and the Pach Brothers’ photography studio, according to the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership’s website.
Given the Mortimer Building’s history, the design firm working with Warner Bros. had to request permission to make alterations to its exterior.
Eric Bourassa, the principal from the design firm Studio Superette, presented renderings of the store on behalf of Warner Bros. to Manhattan Community Board 5’s landmarks committee to request permission for several alterations to the exterior of the building, which is located in a historic district.
The proposals include adding a fiberglass dragon—a familiar icon for Harry Potter fans—with a clock, two backlit Harry Potter signs and six ‘wand-style’ flagpoles made out of antique brass to the building’s facade, Mr. Bourassa said.
This request was unanimously denied by the landmarks committee. That denial will now go to the full board on January 16 before continuing to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission later in the month. Layla Law-Gisiko, the chair of Manhattan Community Board Five’s landmarks committee, commented on the dispute.
Flagpoles are a big no-no. If Harry Potter can put a dragon, then Nike can put a shoe, then the bakery down the block could put a croissant, and then where do you stop?
Other proposed changes to the exterior reportedly included “a service window on Broadway for concessions and for a future sidewalk cafe.”
What do you think of the planned Wizarding World store? Would you visit it?
UPDATE (February 6):
We received an update from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission that the proposal was approved with modifications from the Commission on January 21, 2020, for 935 Broadway in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District.
You can watch a video of the public hearing and vote below. The discussion of the proposal begins from the timestamp 2:23:08.
Thank you to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for the update!