Major Midtown Hotel-Condo Hybrid Set for Council O.K.

A developer’s at least three-year-old plan for a 61-story Shangri-La hotel and condo project in midtown east is expected to sail through two City Council committees on Aug. 13, paving the way for the entire Council to approve the project the following day and for development to finally begin sometime thereafter.

The Hines Development project calls for a Norman Foster-designed glass tower at 610 Lexington Avenue, at the corner of 53rd Street, with 107 residential condos and 50 condo-hotel units, according to the developer’s Web site. (Recent reports indicate the Shangri-La will instead have 206 hotel rooms and just 17 condos; the developer could not be reached for comment.)

The project has had to go through a laborious public review process thanks to a complicated transfer of air rights from the landmarked Seagram Building next door. Now that the process is nearly complete, local Councilman Daniel Garodnick has indicated that he does not oppose the plan, according to his spokesman, Dan Pasquini. That means that the rest of the Council, which typically defers to the opinion of the local elected official, can now approve the project.

“In this case, the council member has indicated he’s worked out a number of issues that are involved, and he supports the project,” said Councilman Tony Avella of Queens, a mayoral candidate and chairman of the Zoning Subcommittee. These issues included concerns over additional traffic.

And so the proposal will likely pass, starting at 9:45 a.m. on Aug. 13, both Mr. Avella’s subcommittee and the Land Use Committee hearing that immediately follows. The project is expected to be completed in 2010. Major Midtown Hotel-Condo Hybrid Set for Council O.K.