Published On: Sun, Aug 3rd, 2014

Silverstein Asking City for Hudson Yards Zoning Change, Lest Vacancies Last thru 2041

Hudson Yards

Lawyers for Silverstein Properties made their case last week before New York City’s Department of Public Planning, as to why the real estate firm should be allowed to increase the size of its proposed new residential towers currently under development at Manhattan’s new Hudson Yards building site.

Larry Silverstein’s real estate development company had originally planned on a smaller mixed use tower. Now it’s seeking approval to increase the size of its part of the Hudson Yards project known as “Projected Development Site 46” and to add residential units to what was originally just going to be an office and retail building.

Under the new proposal, there would be a total of 175 different corporate offices, together with 1, 400 residential units, 300, 000 square feet of retail space, and a 10, 000 square foot, covered public open space, in a 1, 100 foot tall tower at 520 West 41st Street, near the corner of 11th Avenue.

Unfortunately for Silverstein, the Department of Public Planning must first authorize an exemption to the current zoning regulation, to allow for residential space on that location.

A draft submitted in support of the new plan which was cited in the Commercial Observer states, “The applicant believes that the proposed zoning text changes to facilitate the residential development at the site are appropriate and necessary as the project site has unique qualities and characteristics that make it more suitable for residential development while at the same time unsuitable for large-scale office development.”

Silverstein’s firm maintains that since New York scrapped plans to extend a local subway line up to Hudson Yards, it is no longer feasible for their building there to be dedicated to so many new offices as they had originally intended.

It also cites a study showing that if they go ahead with the same total number of new offices there, they would not see full occupancy until at least 2041. But if it is changed to be mostly residential, the firm maintains, they can achieve full occupancy by no later than 2020, or just a few years after completion.

When it is complete, Hudson Yards will be a complex of five skyscrapers and two smaller buildings running between 10th and 11th Avenues from East to West and 30th to 34th Streets from North to South

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