Pelli Clark Pelli's 15 Penn Plaza (Courtesy Pelli Clark Pelli)
The battle for Midtown Manhattan has taken a new twist. Radio broadcasters located in the nearby Empire State Building have raised concerns that Vornado Realty Trust‘s proposed 15 Penn Plaza will swat their signals from the sky.
Standing at over 1,200 feet tall, broadcasters worry the Pelli Clark Pelli designed 15 Penn Plaza could reflect or disrupt radio frequencies, causing a phenomenon known as multipath where multiple waves are sent to the same signal.
Radio World reports that experts have been watching the proposed tower closely as it was recently given a thumbs up after a contentious approval process in which Empire owner Tony Malkin argued 15 Penn Plaza would diminish from the historic significance of his building.
From Radio World:
“Vornado officials have not indicated an interest in building rooftop broadcast facilities atop the new tower, according to observers.
“The Empire State Building is home to 19 FM stations and most of the city’s digital television transmitters. Many radio and television broadcasters migrated there after the collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 (see sidebar).
“Multipath issues are nothing new in the city because of its monstrously tall buildings, but the proximity of the skyscraper to the Empire State Building — approximately a quarter-mile — raises a red flag for some in the broadcast community.”