Fighting Trump Plan For 45-Story “Trojan Horse” Hotel
Trump Plan for 45-Story “Trojan Horse Hotel”: In early June, Donald Trump announced on The Apprentice plans to build an enormous “condo-hotel” on a parking lot at Varick and Spring Streets, to be managed by the winner of his reality TV show. By accumulating development rights from neighboring sites, Trump would take advantage of lax zoning in the area to build a dramatically out-of-scale 45-story building, by far the tallest in Lower Manhattan.
But there’s a catch: the plan would probably violate the zoning for the area. Trump’s is a first-of-its-kind scheme for a “hotel” with units which would be sold to individuals who then could rent them as hotel rooms, or could simply keep them as residences for themselves. But this sounds suspiciously similar to a scheme for a 450 ft. tall hotel/residence in the Meatpacking District which a coalition of groups led by GVSHP defeated in 2004 because it allowed residential development in a district where the zoning prohibited it. In that case, after a protracted campaign by GVSHP and other groups, the City overturned an initial ruling allowing the building, affirming with its ‘final ruling’ that in zoning districts where residential development is barred, it doesn’t matter if you call it a ‘hotel’ or not. Interestingly, Trump’s plan is reportedly designed by Handel Architects, who were also involved in the design of the 2004 Meatpacking District tower scheme.
The zoning for Trump’s site carries the same restrictions against residential development as the one in the Meatpacking District. GVSHP is very concerned about the size and scale of the proposed Trump building and its impact upon the surrounding neighborhood, but also about the way in which the tower would violate zoning regulations which we fought so hard to protect. If this scheme is allowed, similar mega-high-rises would for the first time be allowed as-of-right (without any public review or approval required) in areas like NoHo, SoHo, the Far West Village south of Barrow Street, and parts of Tribeca which have similar zoning, among other places. GVSHP has been joined by several downtown groups in writing to the Mayor and City officials urging that no permits be issued for the development based upon these conflicts with the area’s zoning.