Gene Norman, Who Helped Landmark Broadway Theaters, Dies at 85

The Four Percent

“The kind of quality that I think needs to be alongside the superior quality of this Byzantine-inspired, beautifully organized, wonderfully ornamented church,” Mr. Norman said at the time, “is so severely lacking that it becomes a case of night and day.”

Credit…via Norman family

Alfred Warren Gene Norman was born on Feb. 14, 1935, in Charlotte Amalie, in the Virgin Islands, to Rufus Norman and Edith O’Neal, a nurse’s aide. The family moved to New York when he was an infant.

After graduating from Morris High School in the Bronx, he attended Hunter College in New York and Pratt Institute School of Architecture in Brooklyn and served in the Marine Corps.

In 1959 he married Juanita Diaz, who survives, him along with their daughter; two sons, Gene A. Norman Jr. and Paul Norman; a sister, Patricia Kyle; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Before joining the Landmarks Commission, Mr. Norman was director of operations for a minority-owned architectural firm, worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Urban Development Corporation, and, from 1975 to 1983, served as executive vice president of the Harlem Urban Development Corporation when it built subsidized housing, renovated brownstone facades and rehabilitated the West 125th Street commercial corridor.

After leaving city service, he was president and chief executive from 1989 to 1994 of the Harlem International Trade Center Corporation, a quasi-public development that never got beyond the planning stage, but which its supporters said eventually spurred renewal.

Mr. Norman later taught at Pratt Institute and established a firm called Architecture Plus!, which consulted in design and historic preservation.

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