Lower Manhattan parking lot to be replaced with 815,000-squarefoot residential/retail project. The Planning Commission approved a proposal of the Economic Development Corporation and the project developer, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc., to replace a City-owned surface parking lot in Lower Manhattan with an 815,000-square-foot mixed-use project. Located on a 95,565-square-foot site bounded by West, Warren, Greenwich and Murray Streets, the proposal includes 402 condominium and rental units, a 400-space parking garage and 165,000 sq.ft. of retail space featuring a ground floor supermarket to be occupied by Whole Foods.
A two-story base building will cover the entire site and house the Whole Foods, other retail and the residential lobbies. Above the base, a 388-foot, 32-story tower containing the project’s condo units will front West Street and a second smaller rental residential tower will front the eastern part of the site along Greenwich and Warren Streets. Access to parking and loading would be gained from Murray Street, the only two-way access street adjoining the site. Directly across Warren Street from the site, a 29-story, mixed-use project at 200 Chambers Street is under construction based on a September 2004 City approval. 1 CityLand 1 (Oct. 15, 2004).
The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design required a special permit to vary the height, setback and rear yard requirements. The project necessitated an additional special permit for the 400-space parking garage, a UDAAP designation allowing state tax reductions, and the disposition of the site to the EDC.
At the May 17, 2005 Commission hearing, EDC stated that Minskoff was chosen as the project developer for the site prior to September 11th and planned to construct a large commercial development to replace the site’s 265-space parking lot. Following September 11th, EDC asked Minskoff to redesign the project to contain residential units and destination retail space. Testifying in support, the Director of Manhattan Youth, a Tribeca not-for-profit providing children’s after school and recreational programs since 1985, explained that Minskoff had committed funds to the construction of an expanded center for Manhattan Youth at 200 Chambers Street.
Chair Amanda M. Burden, voting to approve on August 10, 2005, called the project a “significant milestone in the remaking of Lower Manhattan.” Crediting Mayor Bloomberg in pushing the project forward, Burden stated that Lower Manhattan has “always lacked the vibrancy” of the city’s mixed-use neighborhoods and the project, with both residential and retail, would infuse the area with needed life in the hours after the downtown office district has closed.
The full Commission approved unanimously, finding that the height, setback and yard modifications would allow the bulk of the building to be aligned with the West Side Highway, away from the lower scale residential streets of Tribeca. The Commission found the rear yard modifications necessary to allow unobstructed floor area and loading for Whole Foods and to increase the rooftop open space.
ULURP Process: The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, as lead agency, issued a DEIS on December 6, 2004, and a notice of completion and a FEIS on February 3, 2005. The FEIS identified significant adverse traffic impacts at the intersection of West and Murray Streets, which could be improved with design modifications to the roadway, but would not be fully mitigated.
Community Board 1 approved, recommending that steps be taken to lessen construction noise impacts and that a temporary elementary school be constructed to deal with overcrowding caused by the project.
Borough President C. Virginia Fields approved with conditions relating solely to the request to remove a sidewalk easement along Murray Street, which was also sought for the project.
City Council review is pending.
CPC: 270 Greenwich Street/Site 5B (C 050427 HAM – UDAAP designation/ disposition of property); (C 050428 MEM – eliminate easement); (C 050429 ZSM – modify height, setback, yard); (C 050430 ZSM – 400-space parking garage) (August 10, 2005) (Edward J. Minskoff, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.; Mustafa K. Abadan, AIA, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Robert S. Davis, Bryan Cave LLP). CITYADMIN