From the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation www.gvshp.org
For Immediate Release -- May 8, 2007
CITY APPROVES 45-STORY TRUMP SOHO ‘CONDO-HOTEL;’
OPPONENTS CHARGE CITY IS VIOLATING ITS OWN LAWS,
VOW TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT
Manhattan – Over the objections of dozens of elected officials and a broad coalition of community and business groups from across New York, today the City approved plans for construction of the 45-story Trump SoHo ‘Condo-Hotel’ at Spring and Varick Streets in Manhattan Opponents condemned the decision, and are contemplating legal action to overturn it.
The coalition fighting the Trump SoHo Condo-Hotel have charged it violates the manufacturing zoning governing the site, which explicitly prohibits residential uses. Trump and his partners were caught multiple times advertising the planned development as a “residence” in spite of the explicit prohibitions against such uses. The developers signed a voluntary “restrictive declaration” with the City last week which explicitly allows the condo-owners in the Trump SoHo Condo-Hotel to live in their units a maximum of four months of the year, allowing de facto residential use . Opponents claim that the four month limit will be virtually impossible to enforce, and in fact many owners will use this as their primary, year-round residence.
“Unfortunately the City has decided that the interests of billionaire developers trump zoning protections for our neighborhoods,” said Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and leader of the coalition fighting the Trump SoHo condo-hotel project. “This is a blatant violation of the zoning and of the city’s own laws,” added Berman.
The Trump SoHo condo-hotel is the first ever in New York City in an area zoned for manufacturing, which means that residential and residential hotel development is prohibited. “Transient hotels,” which the law says are “rented on a daily basis” and used “primarily for transient occupancy” are allowed, though prior city rulings have said units in such developments cannot be “made subject to lease, sale, or other arrangements,” which the Trump condo-units would be.
“If you own a condo and are living in it for four months of the year, that’s a second home, not a transient hotel,” stated Berman, referring to the zoning use group the developers and the City claim this development will fall under. “The reality is many of these owners will live there not just four months but year round. The restrictive declaration is a sham, a fig leaf designed to try to cover up the obscene decision of allowing this 45-story monstrosity where the law clearly prohibits it,” he added. “Condo-hotels are used as year-round residences by their owners throughout the country – what makes the City think Trump’s will be the exception?” asked Berman. CLICK HERE for information on year-round occupancy of condo-hotels.
“I don’t know how much clearer this developer could have been that he has every intention of violating the law, and yet the City is just waving them through,” said Berman, referring to the developer having been caught multiple times advertising the project as a residence.
"The Buildings Department has apprenticed itself out to Donald Trump in this cockamamie interpretation of the zoning. For twenty years, the Department of City Planning has ignored the pleas of the SoHo Alliance to remove hotels from manufacturing zones. Now we see the results of their negligence: an oversized, overcrowded building in a low-rise, low-density neighborhood beset with traffic problems," said Sean Sweeney of the SoHo Alliance.
The building, in an area of low-rise loft buildings and 15-story warehouses, will be the tallest building between Midtown and the Financial District.
With the issuance of Trump’s building permits, members of the coalition fighting the Trump plan are now considering legal action to force the City to enforce the law and stop the project.
CLICK HERE to see the list of opponents of the Trump plan. For more information, see www.gvshp.org/trump.htm.