City officials aim to close loophole for construction of Two Bridges skyscrapers

December 6, 2017

Rendering of 247 Cherry Street via SHoP Architects

In an effort to slow construction of three residential towers in the Two Bridges neighborhood, City Council Member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will submit an application to the Department of City Planning that forces the plan to go through the city’s land use review process. Developments at the waterfront site include a 1,000+ foot tower from JDS Development Group, a 1.1 million-square-foot development from L+M Development and CIM Group, and a 724-foot rental building from Starrett Development. According to Politico, the Manhattan pols hope the review process will encourage public scrutiny of the projects, including a demand for shorter structures.

Last year, City Planning said the proposed trio of buildings would create only a “minor modification” to the Two Bridges area, based on a broad zoning plan that expired 10 years ago. Current rules allow for soaring skyscrapers to be built without much public comment, a loophole Chin and Brewer hope to close.

Legislation introduced by the two officials earlier this year, and that just became law last week, allows city agencies, borough presidents, and Council members to forgo some procedural requirements before submitting their own zoning amendments.

“It’s clear that we need more tools to empower everyday residents in the land use process, not less,” Chin said in a statement to Politico. “It’s my hope that this legislation would help Two Bridges residents and groups across the city work more closely with their elected officials, and I will continue to advocate for more ways to strengthen the community’s voice in the land use process.”

Plans for developing the Chinatown-meets-LES neighborhood have been in the works for awhile. At 247 Cherry Street, JDS Development, along with SHoP Architects, is planning a supertall tower containing 660 units, 165 of which will be rent-regulated. Last May, L+M Partners and CIM Group announced plans for two 50-story towers at 260 South Street, that will include 1,350 units, with 338 set aside for low- and moderate-income tenants. Starett Development plans on building a 724-foot building that will have 765 rentals, with 191 of them rent-regulated, at 275 South Street.

At the end of the land use review process, the City Council would vote on the three projects. In a statement, Brewer said: “I’m glad this bill is now law and we’ll continue pressing for speedy consideration of our text amendment to protect Two Bridges.”

[Via Politico NY]


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