CB3 Signals Approval for 25-Story Chrystie Hotel

Posted on: September 20th, 2012 at 6:09 am by
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Truly a tragic compromise – in order to save a slice affordable housing, the neighborhood must acquiesce to the construction of an as-of-right 25-story tower on Chrystie Street. That was basically the gist of CB3’s zoning subcommittee meeting last night.

The developer and architect for 215 Chrystie Street appeared before the board to explain the situation. Twice delayed, their appearance had initially been scheduled earlier this spring. Before jumping into the complexities, let’s first talk about what will drop here. Of the twenty-five stories slated for arrival, the hotel portion will occupy the first eighteen with remainder earmarked for market rate residential. There will be a total of 376 keys. Hotel ownership is still an unknown. But judging by Handel Architects’ other projects – Chelsea’s Dream Hotel, 40 Bond, Trump SoHo – we’re in for no treat. Speaking of…this sounds awfully familiar to the embattled Trump SoHo…

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The owner of 10 Stanton Street, currently a voluntary Section 8 building participant, tasked developer and architect to build the new mixed-use monstrosity on the adjacent tax lot. As an apparent “good faith” gesture (or strongarming tactic), the landlord struck a binding agreement with regulated tenants there that ensures affordability for the next two decades. You see, the governmental benefits expire in three years, and that date was seemingly used as leverage. The aforementioned contract further stipulates that open land lost to the new hotel will be transplanted to the rooftop of their building; new playground equipment will be built; indoor gym, communal space, and storage lockers are also in the cards. Also suspect is how some of these amenities should’ve been provided by the landlord in the first (that realization elicited the same sigh from the board).

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The tenant association of 10 Stanton Street was 100% in favor of the hotel, given their arrangement to sustain the affordable housing. But others in the audience from the public weren’t as easily convinced. Many worried about the all-too-common problems these days. How the low-rise character of the Lower East Side is dead, or how the infrastructure can barely handle another development of this scope, or how nightlife associated with these projects is a scourge (for the record, we were promised no “clubs”). Sticky points for CB3 were more about employing local labor for construction and as staff upon completion.

Since the plan is for an as-of-right tower, the application was not for a variance, but rather a special order calendar case. Team 215 Chrystie got what they wanted – a unanimous approval. In the end, a vote for 10 Stanton was essentially a vote for the hotel. Let the games begin.

Weigh in – do the resounding positives of sustaining affordable housing at 10 Stanton outweigh the negatives of a 25-story hotel?

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