Council to hear proposed changes to Hudson Sq.

By Albert Amateau

The zoning subcommittee of the City Council land use committee will hear the proposal to allow residential development in the north and south ends of the Hudson Sq. manufacturing district on July 21.

The City Planning Commission last month unanimously approved the rezoning plan and rejected the recommendation of Community Board 2 to separate the proposals for the north and south ends.

The community board last month approved the rezoning of the south end, bounded by Spring, Washington, Canal and Hudson Sts., but disapproved the mixed use residential and industrial rezoning for the north end, bounded by Morton and Barrow Sts. on the north, Hudson St. on the east, Clarkson and Leroy Sts. on the south and West St. on the West. The board felt the zoning would hasten the exodus of manufacturing uses in the district’s north end.

City Councilmember Christine Quinn, who supported the community board position, said she would urge the subcommittee next week to reject the proposal and recommend treating the north and south ends of the district as separate issues.

But all 12 members of the 15-member City Planning Commission who attended the June 18 session voted in favor of the new zoning, rejecting the recommendation to separate the north and south.

Commission chairperson Amanda Burden and other commissioners praised the rezoning for balancing the need for new housing with the desire to preserve industrial uses in a district where developers have won Board of Standards and Appeals variances for high-rise residential development in the manufacturing district.

The proposal for the northern section would create a special mixed-use district that would allow the development of both manufacturing and residential buildings. But residential neighbors fear that most residential development in the north would come from conversion of manufacturing space. The conversions, they say, would result in job losses and an increase in property value that would put pressure on affordable housing in the nearby West Village Houses complex.

Assemblymember Deborah Glick and state Sen. Tom Duane are also against the proposal for the north end of the district.

Nevertheless, Morton Sq., a luxury residential complex in the north end of the district across the street from West Village Houses, won a B.S.A. variance two years ago. The 155-ft. tall project now under construction between Morton and Leroy Sts. from West to Washington Sts. covers more than 345,000 sq. ft. and has 147 apartments plus accessory parking for 68 cars, general parking for 72 cars and ground floor retail space.

The zoning in the south would allow for new residential buildings and continue to permit existing commercial and light industrial uses. But no new manufacturing could move into the area. The new zoning also calls for a 40 percent decrease in the bulk of new development.

David Reck, president of Friends of Hudson Sq., said the proposed south end rezoning was long overdue. “I wish it was adopted a couple of years ago. If it were, two buildings going up now on Greenwich St. [one 11 stories and the other 14] would have been shorter,” he said.


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