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

Carter's View

LHL Realty, Inc., is planning a large residential development with 41 condominium apartments and about 300 market-rate rental apartments at 229-251 West 60th Street and 218-240 West 61st Streets.

At a meeting last night before the land-use committee of Community Board 7, Paul Selver of Kramer Levin Naftalis Frankel LLC made a presentation of the plan by West End Enterprises, an affiliate of LHL Realty Inc., of which Laurence Ginsberg is a principal.

The plan, designed by H. Thomas O?Hara, includes a 27-story, mid-block, red-brick, rental tower and a 17-story, red-brick, rental building and a 9-story, light-colored brick, condominium structure. Mr. Selver, shown at the right with renderings of the project from different directions, said that the developer is seeking a special permit to permit a change in zoning for the site and various waivers for height, setbacks, rear yard, sky exposure plane and open space requirements. He noted that under existing zoning regulations a 340-foot-high, 30-story building with about 500 units could be erected.

The developer wants to devote the project?s 12,500 square feet of open space for the sole use of its residents. The proposed development would have about 18,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and an underground, 261-car garage and 100 of the spaces would be reserved for the public.

Mr. Selver told the committee that the Department of City Planning had requested that the project be ?lighter? and ?more open? and have more retail space, requests he said that have been addressed in the project?s current, revised design.

He said that discussions had been held with the nearby Heschel School and the Board of Education about possible transfer of air rights to the site but he said the discussions were abandoned as being too difficult and that such a transfer is ?not going to happen.?

He said the developer hoped to have the project ?certified? into ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Process) by the end of June.

?This project has lingered longer in pre-certification? than the developer had hoped, Mr. Selver said, adding that the developer has owned the site for 15 years and ?very much wants to move forward?before the end of ULURP.? Mr. Selver asked the committee how the board would react if the developer got a building permit for the site for a one-story structure ?with a very deep basement.? Mr. Selver emphasized that the developer might do so ?at his own risk? and if he did not get the special permit ?that?s all he would do.?

Some members of the committee commented on the difficulty of some contractors getting materials during the present construction frenzy in the city and appreciated the developer?s ?hands-on? frankness, but Richard Asche, co-chairman of the committee told Mr. Selver that ?the obvious reaction [to his question was mixed.?

Anna Levin, a resident of 60th Street and the co-chairman of the land-use committee of Community Board 4, which covers Clinton and Chelsea, asked the Community Board 7 committee to consider making a strong commitment to affordable housing, noting that her board has made it a high priority.

After Mr. Selver?s presentation, the committee had an impassioned discussion about the plans of Fordham University to sell off part of the land it had acquired just to the south of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts that was part of a large urban renewal plan for the area. The committee argued over the ?morality? of eminent domain and how well the ?public good? is served by the expiration of some ?social?/urban public contracts.

Page Ayres Cowley, co-chairman of the committee, noted that the expiration of urban renewal regulations was a ?disease? like the expiration of Mitchell-Lama regulations that presents neighborhoods with very different challenges than contemplated when they were created.

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.