CPC Holds Hearing on Special Permit for Additional Residential Parking

Architectural rendering of The Jardim. Image credit: Office of Environmental Remediation/Centaur Properties

Architectural rendering of The Jardim. Image credit: Office of Environmental Remediation/Centaur Properties

The proposed parking facility would create 39 internal parking spaces for 36 residential units.  On September 22, 2015, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on WC 28 Realty LLC’s application seeking a special permit to build 39 off-street parking spaces attached to its proposed condominium complex for exclusive use by the condominium’s tenants.  The condominium, called the Jardim, is located in the West Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.  The developers are allowed to build 10 accessory parking spaces as of right and require the special permit to build the additional 29 parking spaces in the proposed automated parking facility.

The Jardim, which would be located in the middle of the block bounded by West 27th Street, West 28th Street, 10th Avenue, and 11th Avenue, was designed by Isay Weinfeld and would be developed by Centaur Properties and Greyscale Development Group.  The proposed development plan seeks to build two 11-story residential towers containing 36 residential units, which average over 2,000 square-feet per unit, 39 accessory off-street parking spaces, and two ground-floor retail spaces covering 96,000 square-feet of the 135,000 square-foot property.  The development would provide a greater than one-to-one ratio of available parking space per residential unit, so that each condominium unit purchased would come with an exclusive license to at least one parking space.

At the September 22nd hearing, Centaur Properties CEO Harlan Berger was the first to speak in support of the special permit and was followed by Nick Hawkins, the project land use counsel.  Mr. Berger testified that 36 parking spaces would be reserved for the condominium’s residential tenants, while the additional three spaces would be used for retail purposes.  Mr. Hawkins testified that the area immediately surrounding the development site is not well served by public transit, because most of the convenient subway stations are located several avenues east of the site.  Dave Nicholson, a representative of SBLM Architects, testified that Park Plus would be the vendor in charge of the automated parking facility.

Basha Gerhards, deputy director of land use for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Office, testified that while the ratio of available residential parking spaces per residential unit in Community Board 4 has decreased within the last ten years, this ratio alone is not dispositive, because most of the available residential parking is under-utilized.

Commission member Larisa Ortiz agreed with Ms. Gerhards’ sentiments in opposition to the proposed parking facility.  Ms. Ortiz inquired whether it is “critical to offer parking to ensure that people of means remain in Manhattan.”  Ms. Gerhard testified that the Borough President would be comfortable eliminating all of the parking within the area at issue, especially in an effort to make way for more affordable housing units.  Ms. Gerhard concluded her testimony by noting that while the current proposal was not offensive to the guidelines currently followed by the Department of City Planning, it may not set forth the best use of land possible for the neighborhood.

Christine Berthet, chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, was the only speaker to formally testify in opposition to the proposed parking facility.  Ms. Berthet testified that instead of taking cars off the street, the proposed parking facility would put more cars on the street than before.  She argued that recent studies have found that the tendency to use one’s car is much higher among people who have parking space available inside their buildings as compared to those who do not.  According to Ms. Berthet, an increase in indoor parking would worsen traffic congestion issues already experienced within the Manhattan borough.  Further, Ms. Berthet testified that less than 30% of available public parking is utilized in the neighborhood, so there is no need to create additional parking facilities.

WC 28 Realty initiated the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure process on March 24, 2015.  In July of 2015, Community Board 4 voted to recommend denial of the special permit application.  The CPC is expected to issue its final decision in November of 2015.

CPC: 530 West 28th Street (150309-ZSM) (Sept. 22, 2015).

By: Jessica Soultanian-Braunstein (Jessica is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2015)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.