Apartments to be built opposite Holland Tunnel

Sixty-one unit apartment building to be built on Varick Street. The owner of 100 Varick Street sought a variance from BSA to build a 79- unit, 109-foot tall, 65,980-squarefoot residential development covering two lots located across from the Holland Tunnel entry plaza in Manhattan, zoned for manufacturing uses. No parking would be added to the development. At the first hearing before BSA, the owners of adjacent 125 Varick opposed the development, explaining that they held a light and air easement that restricted development on 100 Varick Street to 80 feet. The owner of 100 Varick responded that it was in negotiations with 125 Varick to terminate the agreement.

BSA asked the owner to reduce the project, citing 125 Varick’s rights and its own concerns that the project was too large. BSA noted that the closest residential district had a floor area limit of a 6.02 FAR, while the developers proposed a 10 FAR.

In a revised design, the owner proposed a 61-unit, 79-foot-tall building with 52,648 sq.ft. of floor area, equaling a 7.97 FAR, and argued that the residential use was justified due to the existing building’s inadequate floor plates and the lots’ short depths. The owner claimed that its attempts to rent the mostly vacant buildings to commercial or manufacturing users failed and, pointing to several residential buildings on Varick Street, argued that the project would not alter the neighborhood.

BSA ruled that arguments relating to the existing buildings were irrelevant since the developer planned to demolish the buildings and start with a vacant site. BSA, however, granted the variance, finding that a hardship existed due to the constraints in developing lots with short, 35-foot usable lot depths. BSA noted that the area should be categorized as mixed-use and that a 100-foot tall building with no more than a 7.97 FAR would also be compatible with the area.

BSA: 100 Varick Street (151-05-BZ) (August 8, 2006) (Fredrick A. Becker, for 100 Varick Realty, LLC). CITYADMIN

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