Monday, September 3, 2012

City Planners Approve Chelsea Market Expansion

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal by Jamestown Properties for new construction above Chelsea Market. The controversial plan would allow for the addition of 330,000-square-foot of new office space, by building big new additions on the roof of the block-long complex between Ninth and Tenth avenues. The developers have adjusted its plan over recent months to satisfy community groups, such as agreeing to drop plans for a 125-room hotel. The City Council, however, gets the final vote on the matter.

The City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve Jamestown Properties' controversial plan to build a major addition on top of the Chelsea Market.

Jamestown's plan would allow for the addition of more office space by building atop the Ninth and 10th avenues ends of the block-long complex. Now Jamestown's application heads to the City Council, which must hold public hearings on the matter before it votes. The plan needs city approval because the proposed additions are prohibited under current zoning.

"We are gratified by the City Planning Commission's thoughtful and balanced approach in the consideration and approval of Jamestown's application to expand Chelsea Market," said Michael Phillips, Jamestown's chief operating officer in a statement.

"Jamestown looks forward to continuing its discussions with area stakeholders as the plan moves to the next and final phase of the approval process," he said.

The vote puts City Council Speaker and presumed mayoral candidate Christine Quinn in a delicate position because the market, between West 15th and West 16th streets, is in her district. Pro-business and development groups want the plan approved while some of her liberal base adamantly opposes the plan. In most cases, council members take their voting cues from the member whose district is affected by the issue under consideration.

[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, April 17, 2012]

Jamestown has already made adjustments to its plan, such as agreeing earlier to drop plans for a hotel. Yet, some members of the community still are not satisfied.

"The proposed upzoning and huge additions atop this historic complex will ruin a beloved New York City landmark and greatly exacerbate traffic and congestion in a neighborhood already bursting at the seams," said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

"To upzone Chelsea Market simply adds insult to injury, lining a successful developer's pockets while the local community picks up the tab in increased crowding and congestion and decreased quality of life."