[A rendering of 3 St. Mark's Place]
Local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera yesterday joined the chorus of opposition to the air-rights transfer for the new office building planned for the northeast corner of St. Mark's Place and Third Avenue.
To date, Rivera, who holds the key vote when the proposal comes before City Council, had previously expressed concerns about the project, but hadn't gone as far as officially opposing it.
During yesterday's City Planning Commission hearing, Rivera submitted joint testimony with Assemblymember Deborah Glick and State Sen. Brad Hoylman, which read in part:
"This development would clearly be out of context with the landmarked 4 St. Mark’s Place, as well as the surrounding street scape and character. It's clear that the developers, in the wake of numerous concerns raised by neighborhood groups, Community Board 3, several members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and elected officials, have not proposed or addressed any serious 'appropriate conditions and safeguards' that the 74-79 permit states should be considered in order to 'minimize adverse effects on the character of the surrounding area."
St. Mark's Place is the gateway to the East Village - a globally recognized center of music, art and culture. This project fell short of the community's expectations and the neighborhood it leads to.— Carlina Rivera 利華娜 (@CarlinaRivera) March 4, 2020
That’s why I urged the City Planning Commission to reject it. https://t.co/iZjps2UZ5Z
The City Planning Commission will cast their vote at a later date as part of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. They are expected to approve the plan to transfer air rights from 4 St. Mark's Place to the new development across the street at 3 St. Mark's Place. In issues such as this, City Council usually follows the lead of the local Councilmember.
Andrew Berman, executive director of the Village Preservation, has long been opposed to this plan. He said that he was pleased by Rivera's decision.
"We are hopeful that her statement ... will be followed by a no vote in the Council and a call to her colleagues to do the same," Berman said in an email. "We have said from the beginning that this proposal to increase the size of the planned tech office tower at the 'gateway to the East Village' is wrong, and would only serve to accelerate the spread of Midtown South and Silicon Alley to this neighborhood."
The Village Preservation and more than a dozen residents also spoke out against the plan yesterday.
[Photo yesterday via Village Preservation]
With the air-rights transfer, developer Real Estate Equities Corporation (REEC) would be allowed to build 8,386 square feet larger than the current zoning allows.
Regardless of an extra 8,000 square feet, the project will continue. Per Gothamist:
At Wednesday's public hearing, the project's architect Morris Adjmi emphasized a building of a similar height size could be built as-of-right, saying, "one could build this building without a special permit, without transferring any air rights, and it is 22 feet taller at the street wall and also more or less the same height overall."
A rep for the developers, Adam Taubman of the law firm Kramer Levin, also said at the hearing the currently vacant lot would see construction whether or not the permit is approved.
REEC picked up the 99-year leasehold for the properties here for nearly $150 million in November 2017. The corner assemblage is owned by the Gabay family.
Previously on EV Grieve:
• Demolition permits filed for northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place
• End is nearing for the businesses on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place
• New building plans revealed for 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place
• Concern over potential air-rights transfer for new office building on St. Mark's Place and 3rd Avenue