Rezoning approved for two Verizon sites

Commission approved Verizon’s consolidation plans. Verizon New York, Inc. sought to rezone two sites that it occupies in Clinton, Manhattan. The first proposal would rezone a 45,200 sq.ft. site at the intersection of Eleventh Avenue and West 43rd Street from M2-3 to C6-4. The second would rezone a 143,300 sq.ft. full-block area, bounded by Eleventh Avenue, West 47th Street, Twelfth Avenue and West 48th Street, from M2-3 to Ml- 5. The Commission unanimously approved both. Verizon intends to sell the up-zoned West 43rd site and consolidate operations into a new building located within the West 47th Street rezoning.

The rezoning on the two West 43rd lots would allow commercial/ residential uses and increase the sites’ permitted building size from 90,400 sq.ft. to 452,000- 542,400 sq.ft. Verizon argued that the one-story warehouse and six-story office on the site were antiquated, out-of-character and required upgrading.

The West 47th and 48th Street block, subject to the second rezoning, is primarily characterized by low-scale, one to four-story commercial and manufacturing uses with one vacant eleven-story building. Verizon’s parking lot and two-story warehouse within the area would be demolished to make way for its new seven-story building.

At the August 11, 2004 Commission hearing, Verizon argued that, if approved, several adjacent buildings would be legalized since they currently exceeded the permitted size limitations. The Commissioners questioned why the West 43rd action could not wait for the Hudson Yards rezoning, and why the Commission should increase the property value solely for its immediate sale. Melanie Meyers, Verizon’s attorney, stated that the proposals would be consistent with the existing character and Verizon had agreed to each condition requested by Manhattan Community Board 4, including design changes and the designation of truck routes.

In approving both applications on October 6, 2004, the Commission recognized that Verizon’s current facility was inadequate for consolidating its operations.

ULURP Process: The Planning Commission, as lead agency, issued a negative declaration on June 7, 2004. Community Board 4 approved the West 43rd rezoning but recommended that low-income housing be required for any increase in floor area over that permitted to mirror the Hudson Yards proposed rezoning. The Community Board disapproved the West 47th rezoning unless truck routes were designated; proper lighting added to the building’s facade; and Verizon complied with mandatory tree planting provisions. On August 2, 2004, Borough President C. Virginia Fields approved the proposal with similar conditions.

Council’s Land Use Committee approved on November 4, 2004. The full Council must still review.

CPC Cal. Nos. 11-12, C 040249 ZMM (W 43rd map amendment). C 040250 ZMM (W 47th map amendment) (October 6, 2004) (Verizon Rezoning: Walter Zupans, HLW Designs; Melanie Meyers, Fried. Frank. Harris. Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, for Verizon) . C I TYADMIN

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