The path may now be clear for Vornado Realty Trust to build Harlem’s first Class A office tower in decades, as the developer has received the nod from the city to proceed despite a possible rezoning of the area.
Vornado wants to build a tower of about 330 feet, which is 40 feet higher than the height limit in the proposed rezoning. The development company had claimed that if it could not build to its desired height, their anchor tenant, a new Major League Baseball television network, would be jeopardized given the time it would take to redesign the building to fit the new height limit.
The Department of City Planning recommended on Friday that the height limit be lifted for this tower, according to a department spokeswoman, a recommendation expected to be adopted by the City Planning Commission when it votes on the 125th Street rezoning plan Monday. The City Council must also approve the rezoning and the exception, and the local councilwoman, Inez Dickens, is thought to be in agreement about the exception, given an agreement said to be hammered out between Community Board 11 and Vornado (we hopefully will have more on this Monday morning).
The Bloomberg administration wants to rezone the 125th Street corridor to transform it into a thriving arts and business district, raising the allowable density along the street. The community has resisted the plan some, particularly the displacement of existing residents that could accompany the changes.
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