Week Wrap-Up: Southern Manhattan Levees, Chelsea Hotel Air Rights, SoHo Glass Box

wrapup_20150603_20150605The stories I covered last week all involved proposals for new things, from Lower Manhattan to Chelsea to SoHo.

The biggest proposal was one from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Director Dan Zarrilli is floating the idea – and he and his team couldn’t stress enough that this is just an idea – to extend the southern Manhattan shoreline with a 1.3-mile-long system of multi-purpose levees. It’s a fascinating idea that they think could protect the area from Whitehall Street up to Montgomery Street from another Sandy-type storm. Also, while in the office on Thursday, I spotted someone’s attempt at humor.

On Wednesday, I covered a meeting of Community Board 5’s land use committee. At issue was a proposal to build a new 25 to 30-story hotel at 105-109 West 28th Street. The thing is that the developer – Lightstone Group – wants the unused air rights from four other properties on the block to achieve that height. But those air rights were deemed to have no value in 1979 and 2003. So, the controversy is largely over whether they should be re-valuated. There’s even more to it in my story.

On Tuesday, I covered the Landmarks Preservation Commission (surprise surprise, me at the LPC on a Tuesday). I was sent there to cover the presentation for a new four-level retail building on a vacant lot at 144 Spring Street, which is at the corner of Wooster Street. The proposed glass building was quite highly praised by the commissioners, but they weren’t ready to approve it. The design team was asked to work with the LPC staff to make the building a little better integrated with its neighborhood. With the level of enthusiasm expressed by the commissioners, I’m pretty sure they’ll approve it when it’s next presented.

– Evan Bindelglass
evabin@gmail.com

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