Long-awaited project for Clinton

Two 24-story towers and a mixed-use building approved for two large City-owned parcels. On February 2, 2005, the City Council unanimously approved the joint application of the Dermot Company and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development for a 609,000 sq.ft., three-building development in the Clinton district of Manhattan on two large City-owned parcels. The two sites span from West 51st to West 53rd Streets at the mid-block between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues and partially front Tenth Avenue. The parcels contain a portion of the functioning, open-air Amtrak rail cut, which will be covered with a development platform.

Dermot Company, chosen in 2003 by HPD, will construct a 24- story, 324-foot residential tower with 325 units, a health club, and retail space on the 22,900 sq.ft. south parcel. Two buildings will be built on the 47,061 sq.ft. north parcel: a 325-unit, 24-story residential tower will be built in the mid-block and a lower, 111-foot mixed-use building will front Tenth Avenue and West 53rd Street. The lower building will have retail and four not-for-profit theaters at street level with residential townhouses above. Six buildings will be demolished, including an existing not-for-profit theater.

At the Council’s January 25, 2004 hearing, HPD committed to lease the new theater spaces for 99- year terms to not-for-profits, including the INTAR Theater, whose current space at 508 West 53rd Street will be demolished to make way for the new development. Anna Levin, Chair of Community Board 4, and Council Member Christine Quinn stated that the key to their support was the long-term lease commitments. Levin, noting that development plans for these lots started back in the 1960s, said that the community was enthusiastic about Dermot Company’s project, but did not want its density to set a precedent.

The Council’s February 2, 2005 vote approved 526,000 sq.ft. of residential space, 23,000 sq.ft. of commercial space, 60,000 sq.ft. of not-for- profit space and 14,000 sq.ft. of open space on the two parcels. The actions included rezoning of a portion of the site (M1-5 and R-8 to C6- 3), approval of the development platform over the rail cut, and transfer of permitted floor area (FAR) from the larger north parcel to the south parcel to allow an increase in the south tower’s size. This transfer of floor area, HPD and Dermot Company explained, would achieve a more desirable balance between the two proposed towers and aid in lowering the height of the new buildings along Tenth Avenue to correspond to the Avenue’s smaller scale.

ULURP Process: HPD, as lead agency, issued a negative declaration on August 4, 2004. Community Board 4 and Borough President C. Virginia Fields voted to approve, recommending conditions to make the not-for-profit space permanent and to improve the public accessibility and usability of the project’s open space.

Following its November 17, 2004 public hearing, the Planning Commission approved on December 22, 2004, finding that the transfer of floor area from the north parcel to the smaller south parcel would result in a better total design plan. Commissioner Alfred C. Cerullo recused himself from the vote.

Council: Clinton Green (February 2, 2005); CPC: Clinton Green (C 050050 ZMM – map amendment); (N 050051 ZRM – text amendment); (C 050052 ZSM – special permit to develop over rail cut); (C 050053 ZSM – special permit for height, setback, yard); (C 050054 ZSM – special permit to expand areas for commercial/ residential uses); (C 050055HAM – UDAAP / disposition of property) (December 22, 2004) (Melanie Meyers, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, for The Dermot Company, Inc.; Daniel J. Kaplan AIA – Lead Designer, Elizabeth Finkelshteyn – Project Director, Mallory Shure – Project Architect and Carol Hsiung – Project Designer, Fox & Fowle Architects). CITYADMIN

Leave a Reply

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