Parking in Viacom Building goes public

Times Square garage permitted to open up to public and increase capacity to 386 spaces. Owners of the Viacom Building, located at 1515 Broadway between West 44th and West 45th Streets in Times Square, applied to City Planning in 2005 to convert the building’s existing 225-space accessory parking garage into a public parking garage and to increase its capacity by 161 spaces and 19 reservoir spaces. The garage would be fully attended and access would remain on West 44th Street. No new construction would be needed to increase the garage’s capacity to a total of 386 spaces.

The 54-story Viacom Building contains over 1.7 million square feet of floor area used primarily as office space. It also contains MTV’s television studios, the 1,700-seat Minskoff Theater and the 2,100-seat Nokia Times Square, formerly the Loew’s Astor Plaza movie theater. The existing garage was originally authorized as an accessory parking garage for tenants.

At the Planning Commission hearing, the building’s owners argued that the Times Square and Broadway theater districts needed additional public parking spaces to accommodate increased tourism. The owners also admitted that garage capacity had been illegally increased in the past. No one appeared in opposition.

The Commission approved on June 21, 2006, finding that the garage would not significantly increase traffic and surrounding streets could handle the increased capacity. The Commission pointed out that the project’s environmental study found only 50 additional vehicle trips in the evening and 40 at the pre-theater peak hours to result from the proposed garage.

Commissioner Karen A. Phillips, who has consistently opposed public parking garage applications and has requested a comprehensive, citywide plan for garage locations, voted against the special permit. Commissioner Alfred C. Cerullo, III recused himself from the vote.

ULURP Process
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: MN 5, App’d, 25-0-3
Boro. President: App’d
Council: pending

CPC: 1515 Broadway Parking Garage (C 050520 ZSM- special permit, public garage) (June 21, 2006). CITYADMIN

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