Theater Row Bonus


Last night, Community Board 4 approved a letter to the Department of City Planning that recommended several changes to the city’s zoning text regarding Theater Row, the area on 42nd Street between Ninth and 11th avenues.

The D.C.P. has been considering changes to “theater bonus” provisions in the area in part because of Related Companies’ recent attempt to get a buildable-bulk bonus for constructing a 1,800-seat theater in a 60-story tower on 42nd Street at Dyer Avenue for Cirque de Soleil.

The D.C.P. invited the community to provide input on Feb. 8, 2006.

The zoning changes, whose “overarching purpose … is to ensure that the bonus is indeed an opportunity to facilitate small Off-Broadway theaters typical of Theater Row,” are after the jump.

Community Board 4’s Clinton Theater Floor Area Bonus (Zoning Resolution Section 96-25) Recommendations

  • The bonus would require a special permit, not certification;
  • Bonus of two feet for each foot of theater or performance space, with a total bonus of 3.0;
  • Allow a nonprofit performance space to qualify only if the development also includes at least two theaters;
  • Limit accessory space to 20 percent;
  • Increase the minimum theater size to 100 seats (to exclude non-union showcases), add a 299-seat maximum, remove the requirement that seats be fixed, and prohibit the combination of smaller spaces to make a space larger than 299 seats;
  • Add findings concerning the effect on the surrounding area;
  • Clarify what has to be built to get the bonus, which should be core, shell and all building systems;
  • Prohibit adult establishments.
  • The board’s recommendations are strictly advisory, but Community Board 4 has a pretty knowledgeable land-use committee–as evidenced by its strong showing with the Hudson Yards rezoning. So expect the D.C.P. to take at least some of these suggestions to heart.

    -Matthew Grace

    Theater Row Bonus