Planning approves 57-story Fifth Ave. bldg.

Proposed 57-story hotel and condominium tower at 400 Fifth Avenue. Image: Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.

Transfer of floor area from landmarked Tiffany Building facilitates construction. On September 19, 2007, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the special permits and text amendment needed for 400 Fifth Realty LLC to build a 57-story mixed-use building along Fifth Avenue, between West 36th and West 37th Streets. The proposed mixed-use building would rise to a height of 631 feet and contain 389 residential units, 200 hotel rooms, and 28,707 sq.ft. of retail space. The apartments would occupy the 18th through 57th floor, sitting above the 17-story hotel and retail space.

The developer requested a special permit to transfer 173,692 sq.ft. of floor area from the landmarked Tiffany & Company Building, located across Fifth Avenue from the project site. The proposed construction also required a text amendment and additional waivers for height, setback, and pedestrian circulation space requirements, as well as a waiver from a prohibition on hotel lobby entrances along portions of Fifth Avenue in Midtown.

At the public hearing, the developer’s architect explained that the height and setback waivers were necessary to allow the design, drafted by the firm Gwathmey, Siegel & Associates, to relate to the streetwall pattern on Fifth Avenue’s nearby landmarks. Anthony Borelli, from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office, testified in support of the proposal, noting that the Fifth Avenue entrance would enliven the area at night and avoid a concentration of building entrances on West 36th Street.

The Planning Commission approved the plan, finding that the additional bulk and height from the proposed transfer would not significantly harm the surrounding buildings and landmarks. Although the developer’s design would result in less pedestrian circulation space than required, the Commission signed off on the proposal, finding that the waiver created a better site plan and allowed the building to better correspond to the streetwall pattern of the area’s significant landmarks. The Commission conditioned the special permit on the developer recording a restriction on the site that would require maintenance and preservation work on the Tiffany Building’s roof and copper flashing.

Review Process
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: MN 5, App’d, 22-13-2
Boro. Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 9-0-0
Council: Pending

CPC: 400 Fifth Avenue (C 070469 ZSM – special permit); (C 070470 ZSM – special permit); (N 070468 ZRM – zoning text amend.) (Sept. 19, 2007). CITYADMIN


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