While most development plans are forced to go around and around and around, re-tooling and tweaking until they’ve been beaten into some ULURP-ified shape that everyone can live with, it’s been one easy ride for the New York Wheel. Apparently everyone (well, not everyone—Marty Markowitz hates the idea of anything outshining the Wonder Wheel), loves the idea of an enormous Ferris wheel in the forgotten borough.
The City Planning Commission approved the New York Wheel in all its 625-foot-high glory today, also giving its nod to the SHoP-designed Empire Outlets, the retail component of the project being development by BFC Partners that will anchor the gargantuan carnival ride with more than 350,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-room hotel adjacent to the St. George ferry terminal.
In the Rezone
The West Crown Heights rezoning has been in the making for nearly a decade, and Community Board 8—which initiated the process—has spent countless hours hashing out the details to maintain the neighborhood’s low-rise character in exchange for allowing higher-density development along the commercial corridors of Franklin and Bedford avenues. The City Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the rezoning proposal next Wednesday, August 7, but now a group of Johnny-come-latelies is trying to shoe-horn in some last-minute changes.
Crown Heights Assembly, a group of ex-Occupiers who have focused on the hotbed of gentrification in recent months, are circulating a petition demanding some big modifications in advance of next week’s vote, according to DNAinfo.
In the Rezone
The new Midtown East rezoning proposal is out—“A” Applications, in Department of City Planning speak—and it’s got a little bit of something for everybody. Developers and the community board get more housing, the churches and synagogues get more useful air rights and diners get more rooftop seating. City Planning’s aim remains the same: Read More
The good news is that the City Planning Commission does not agree with those who want Madison Square Garden to disappear from its current location within 10 years.
The bad news is that the commission wants the Garden gone in 15 years. The Dolan family, which owns the Garden and its teams, had been hoping for a permit that would have allowed the Garden to remain on its current site in perpetuity.
This page supported the Dolan family’s position, but it appears to be doomed. Despite investing hundreds of millions in private funds to renovate the Garden in recent years, the Dolans apparently are no longer welcome to operate the world’s most-famous arena above Penn Station.
When Douglas Durst began deciding, yet again, what to do with the almost block-long property he owns at 57th Street and the Hudson River, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden urged the developer to think big. A high-tech data center, a school and a hotel had all fallen through, so Mr. Durst had fallen back on that most reliable form of New York City development: housing.
Ms. Burden wanted something iconic, especially for a project on such a prominent street at such a prominent location right on the waterfront. With Hudson River Park right there, it ought to be iconic. Mr. Durst delivered something BIG indeed, hiring the Danish wunderkinds at Bjarke Ingles Group to design his project.
Yesterday, Ms. Burden got to put her official stamp on the project, when she and the rest of the City Planning Commission approved Durst/Fetner’s BIG pyramid.
Update 10/31:The City Planning Commission announced last night that today’s meeting has been cancelled.
The mayor may be sending city employees to work today, as he did yesterday. “We are here to serve the public,” the mayor said. Those workers will be helping with recovery efforts in any way they can—planners planning escape routes, perhaps, or preservationists thinking of ways to protect buildings—but there will be no business as usual.
As a result, there is no plan to hold the near-weekly Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting today, as though anyone could get to the Municipal Building in flooded Lower Manhattan with all the bridges closed and subways flooded. Still, if you are a die-hard NIMBY and were thinking about going, don’t bother. The City Planning Commission canceled its Monday meeting but hopes to combine it with its regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting tomorrow.
In the Rezone
Recently, the City Planning Commission approved plans for the rezoning of West Harlem, a plan meant to protect the smaller-scale of the neighborhood. Some locals believe it still allows for outsized development in some places, specifically along the 145th Street corridor. They have written a letter to the City Council, which will make the final decision on the rezoning in the next month or so, urging it to reduce the height of buildings on 145th Street. The letter, provided to The Observer by a concerned citizen, can be read in full after the jump.
In the Rezone
It was a busy day at the City Planning Commission Wednesday. Not only did the commissioners debate the upzoning of the Chelsea Market, which they unanimously approved, but they also approved the downzoning of two historic neighborhoods, West Harlem and Bed-Stuy. The contextual rezonings seek to limit development on side streets, which tend to be chock-full of 100-year-old brownstones, while directing new development—with affordable housing!—to the broad avenues running through the neighborhoods.
Much of the debate around the expansion of the Chelsea Market has centered around not the former Nasbisco factory turned popular shopping center (and subsequent tourist attraction), but the old railroad trestle next to it.
Part of the justification for expanding the market by 25 percent was that, in addition to providing construction jobs and new office space for the city’s booming tech sector, the developer of the project, Jamestown Properties, would pay about $19 million to the High Line, to help fund ongoing maintenance. But there was also great community outcry over the fact that much of the new addition would be built on the 10th Avenue side of Chelsea Market, directly overhanging the High Line.
Earlier today, the City Planning Commission unanimously approved the project’s expansion, and addressed a few of these concerns.
It Takes a Village
The reactions have been rolling in to the City Planning Commission’s near-unanimous approval of NYU’s Greenwich Village expansion plan from yesterday. Activists oppose it, business groups support it and politicians are mixed on the issue. The most striking statement comes from Borough President Scott Stringer, who is glad to see further modifications to the plan but also expresses exasperation at the fact that some of his negotiations with the NYU have been walked back.