Two Trees development near Clinton Park questioned

Two Trees’ proposed development near Clinton Park. Image: Two Trees Management.

CB4 opposed to height and floor area of proposed “Z” shaped building. On February 4, 2009, the City Planning Commission heard testimony on Two Trees Management Co.’s plan to build a 1.3 million sq.ft. “Z” shaped tower at 770 Eleventh Avenue in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. The Enrique Norten-designed tower would rise in steps from approximately seven stories at Eleventh Avenue and 54th Street to 32 stories at the eastern edge of the site. Along with 900 residential units, the tower would contain a 330,000 sq. ft. Mercedes-Benz dealership, a 36,000 sq.ft. facility for the NYPD Mounted Unit, a 20,000 sq.ft. health club, accessory parking for up to 225 cars, and parking space for 600 – 700 bicycles.

In order to facilitate the new development, Two Trees submitted several applications to the Department of City Planning, including a zoning map amendment to rezone the area from M1-5 to C6-3X, a special permit allowing residential and non-residential uses (the health club) on the third floor, and a zoning text amendment that would allow Two Trees to utilize an inclusionary housing bonus and include automobile showrooms and NYPD horse stables at the site. While Manhattan Community Board 4 was reviewing the applications, Two Trees presented a “consensus proposal” to the community in an effort to garner support for the project. The proposal offered, among other things, a decrease in the project’s total FAR from 9.0 to 8.55 and a one-story reduction across the entire building. Although CB4 appreciated Two Tree’s willingness to work with the community, the board felt the proposed modifications did not adequately address concerns over zoning designation and building design. CB4 recommended that the project be denied unless certain conditions were met, including changing the proposed zoning designation from C6-3X to R8A and R9A.

At the City Planning Commission’s February 4th public hearing, Anna Levin spoke on behalf of CB4 and explained its position. She testified that during the 15 months between submission and certification of the applications, CB4 repeatedly stated that the project’s scale and height needed to be reduced, and believed that staff at Planning, the Manhattan Borough President’s office, and the City Council felt the same. When the applications were certified without any reductions in scale, Levin stated that CB4 “had to get with the program or get nothing,” and later “grudgingly” accepted the consensus proposal. Levin concluded that CB4, like Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, would accept the project if the consensus proposal was formally included as part of Two Trees’ applications.

The Commission has until March 23, 2009 to vote.

CPC: Hearing on The Clinton Park (C 080008 ZMM – rezoning); (N 080009 ZRM – text amend.); (C 080010 ZSM – spec. perm.); (C 080011 ZSM – spec. perm.) (Feb. 4, 2009).

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