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Meatpacking District Glass Tower Plan Slashed, But City Approves Zoning Variances

(above) 437 W. 13th St. today; (below) The approved redevelopment plan

Plans have also recently been filed to demolish the historic art deco meatpacking plant at 437 West 13th Street (at Washington Street) and replace it with a glass office tower. Though GVSHP was able to get the building listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, and it was included in our proposed Gansevoort Market Historic District, the City at the last moment carved the building out of the Gansevoort Market Historic District designated in 2003, thus allowing its eventual demolition.

However, not content to simply demolish the existing historic building and build a large new one on the site, in 2009 the developer actually asked the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) for a variance to build two-thirds larger than normally allowed, and include a space for a giant big-box store prohibited by neighborhood zoning rules, claiming that the presence of the High Line on the site created an “economic hardship”! GVSHP led the opposition to both the bulk and big box variances. Ultimately the BSA approved a much smaller variance for the size of the building and the increased size of the retail space. We were able to chop 30% off the height of the building, 64% off the amount of extra bulk they received, and 50% off the amount of extra retail space they could build. The developer has now filed plans to move ahead with demolition of the existing buildings and construct the approved 175 ft. tall building. Read more on GVSHP’s blog, ‘Off the Grid,’ HERE.

GVSHP is very concerned about such ‘variances’ being granted in the Meatpacking District to allow extra-large buildings to be constructed. That’s why we are also opposing a planned zoning change request for Chelsea Market, to allow the addition of a large office tower and hotel to the complex. In addition to the harm we believe such a zoning change and development would cause, it would also likely make more variances similar to the ones granted for 437 West 13th Street possible in the future.


Previous: 11/24/09

Home : Preservation : Gansevoort Market : 437 W. 13th St. : Latest News : 08/19/11

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