Infinite Air Rights for the Feds?


The Villager breaks it down for us today on the planned 26-story N.Y.U. dorm at the site of the former St. Ann’s Church at 124 East 12th Street. (The story is not yet online.) According to the paper, a coalition of local residents and political clubs is suing the developer, Hudson Companies, which bought the air rights for the project for $7.7. million from the nearby Cooper Station Post Office.

While suing a developer to stop a project is nothing out of the ordinary in this city, the reasons for the lawsuit are: Apparently, federal properties are exempt from city zoning. The lawsuit argues that because of this, the city has no way to regulate the air rights from the Cooper Station. Basically, if the project goes on, the Cooper Station can sell its air rights once again, even though they’ve previously been sold.

From The Villager:

David Satnick, attorney for Hudson Companies, spoke against the injunction and said the agreement between the Postal Service and Hudson Companies insured the Postal Service had, in effect, sold its air rights to the developer and relinquished any future right to build over its property.

But did the USPS relinquish its right to sell even more air rights? Interesting question. State Supreme Court Justice Edward H. Lehner should rule on it–or refer it to administrative review–soon.

-Matthew Grace

Previous coverage here. Infinite Air Rights for the Feds?