Pier 40/St. John's Plan Still Lacking
The proposal for a massive upzoning of the St. John’s Terminal site at Houston and West Street continues the environmental review process, and is expected to begin the public review and approval process soon.
Utilizing 200,000 square feet of air rights to be transferred from nearby Pier 40 in the Hudson River Park, the plan would allow a five-building, nearly 2 million square foot complex of apartments (25% affordable), hotels, events space, large-scale retail, and possibly an enormous underground big box store. The complex would reach the same height as the Trump SoHo at its tallest point, and would be the equivalent in size of six Trump SoHos, or three-quarters the size of the Empire State Building. The developer would pay $100 million towards Pier 40 repairs in exchange for the air rights, and would also receive zoning change that would lift current restrictions on limiting new development to office, commercial, and retail use, allowing the much more lucrative residential and hotel development (read the full proposal here).
In spite of the plan being poised to begin the public approval process, fundamental questions remain unanswered. We still have no further information from the Hudson River Park Trust about how many air rights would remain on Pier 40 or elsewhere in the park that could potentially be used in the future to further increase the size and scale of allowable development in our neighborhood, much less any agreement to limit or curtail those air rights transfers in the future if this is approved. We have seen no movement from the City on approving zoning protections for the nearby South Village which we have been pushing for over two years, though this area faces increasing development pressure which would only be increased by the plan. And we have still seen no justification for the incredibly generous giveaway to this developer in exchange for the one-time payment to Pier 40 and the amount of affordable housing being provided.
Read more in GVSHP’s op-ed in this week’s The Villager newspaper.
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