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The New York City Board of Standards & Appeals will continue a special hearing November 2, 2005 on an application by The Related Companies for a zoning variance for 469 West Street, which is presently occupied by the former Superior Ink building that is four stories tall and has two smokestacks.

Related had proposed a 270-foot-high, 23-story structure with residential condominiums that would be similar in its configuration to its development at 445 Lafayette Street, now nearing completion. That building, which is across the street from Cooper Union, is notable for curved reflective glass facades. It was designed by Gwathmey-Siegel Architects, which is also designing the West Street project for Related.

The Related plan for the Superior Ink site ran into considerable community opposition. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, for example, argued that such a tall building would be out-of-scale with the neighborhood.

Related subsequently revised its plans and lowered the height of the proposed tower from 270 to 195 feet and 16 stories and replaced the curved design with a rectilinear one with setbacks, according to Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The revised design has the residential condominiums in the tower along West Street and a three-story wing along Bethune and West 12th Street with townhouse units and commercial spaces.

Mr. Berman told City Realty.Com today that his organization requested that the hearing be continued as the City Council is expected to pass a rezoning of the area shortly. The Related application seeks a variance from the proposed new zoning, according to Mr. Berman, who added that his organization would like to see the proposed height of the project reduced further, adding that many of the board's members seemed to indicate that they also had concerns about its height.

Another major project planned for West Street has recently been scaled back as well, Mr. Berman said. The Witkoff Group is planning a major residential condominium project on the site of the Whitehall Mini-Storage buildings on West Street between Charles and West 10th Streets and Mr. Berman's organization had campaigned to have it and the Related sites "downzoned" in the new rezoning.

The Witkoff site is within the area to be rezoned but is basically unaffected by the proposed rezoning and the Witkoff project is "as-of-right," that is, within existing building and zoning regulations and therefore not subject to public review. Mr. Berman, however, said that Witkoff recently reduced the height of this project from 195 to 175 feet. Rick Cook of Cook & Fox is the architect for the Witkoff project.
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.