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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

The Zoning and Housing Committee of Community Board 2 voted unanimously last night to urge the city not to issue permits for a 45-story condo hotel building at 246 Spring Street in SoHo planned by Bayrock/Sapir LLC, a partnership of the Bayrock Group, Tamir Sapir and Donald Trump.

The partnership contends that the development of the project, which will be known as Trump International Hotel and Tower SoHo, is "as-of-right," that is, that it conforms to existing building and zoning regulations.

A campaign led by Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, has argued that the project's 400 "hotel condo" units are illegal under the site's manufacturing zoning that permits "transient" hotels but not "residential hotels."

At last night's crowded and raucous meeting at the Housing Works on the fourth floor at 320 West 13th Street, Mr. Berman described the project as a "Trojan horse" and circulated a city map with manufacturing zones similar to the one in which the project is located highlighted, shown at the right, with the headline "M1 Zones Under Attack from Trump Plan."

If built, the tower would be the tallest between Lower Manhattan and Madison Square Park.

Julius R. Schwarz, executive vice president of the Bayrock Group, has told CityRealty.Com previously that the green-glass tower will rise on a low-rise base with a five-sided, wedge plan. It will have an outdoor swimming pool on the 5th floor, a Cornelia Spa, a restaurant and full-floor catering facility, he said, adding that it should be completed within 18 months of the start of construction.

The project is using air-rights transferred from 145 Sixth Avenue, which it adjoins, a condominium building that is headed by Peter Moore.

The project has frontage on Spring, Varick and Dominick Streets and is not far from the Holland Tunnel and the Hudson River Park.

Mr. Berman circulated several letters from community organizations written to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Amanda Burden, chairperson of the City Planning Commission, and Patricia Lancaster, Commission of the Department of Buildings that had been written since he and several other organizations wrote to those officials June 16, 2006 about the issue.

In one of them, State Senator Thomas K. Duane wrote July 6, 2006 to Chairperson Burden that "This scheme is nothing more than a backdoor effort by Mr. Trump to get around our city's and the neighborhood's zoning regulations," adding that if the line between long-term occupancy and transient hotels is "allowed to blur with the approval of Mr. Trump's project, we could see aggressive developers building residential towers in inappropriate areas all across the city."

In another letter to all three officials, Sarah Crean, executive director of the Garment Industry Development Corporation, wrote July 13, 2006 that allowing the Spring Street project to "progress would send a signal that residential uses are acceptable in manufacturing districts in spite of the zoning," adding that "This could be disastrous for the Garment District."

And Kathleen McGee Treat, chair of the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association, wrote the mayor July 5, 2006 to state that "This latest plan, attempting to undermine zoning that obviously needs tightening and re-wording, sets a very dangerous precedent, indeed."

The proposed project is close to several new residential condominium projects to the west on Spring Street.

One member of the zoning committee, Philip Mouquinho declared that "this lot was the Yankee Stadium of stickball."

Richard A. L'Altrelli, general counsel of the Sapir Organization, told the meeting that the hotel will have 400 employees and provide banqueting facilities, and that the hotel rooms will "not have any kitchen facilities at all - this is a hotel."
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Additional Info About the Building

Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.