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

Carter's View

The Department of Buildings is planning to issue a permit to Bayrock/Sapir LLC, a partnership of the Bayrock Group, Tamir Sapir and Donald Trump for a 45-story "condo hotel" at 246 Spring Street, according to Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Mr. Berman's organization has been campaigning against the 400-unit project on the grounds that the city's zoning permits a "transient" hotel at the location, but not a "condo hotel."

Mr. Berman said he learned of the pending decision by the Department of Buildings from locally elected officials who have been in discussions with the department and involved in negotiations over a "restrictive covenant" for the property that would require the developers to agree that owners would stay in their "condo hotel units" for 100 to 150 days a year.

Mr. Berman said that the convenant is "just a fig leaf to cover-up the decision" that he said does not translate to transient hotel "on its face." He indicated that his organization "is looking at all options, including legal."

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.

The Zoning and Housing Committee of Community Board 2 voted unanimously last July to urge the city not to issue permits for the project.

The project's site is zoning for manufacturing, which permits "transient" hotels, but not "residential" hotels.

At the July meeting, 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.

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.

Sarah Crean, executive director of the Garment Industry Development Corporation, wrote a letter to several city officials July 13, 2006 stating 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."

Mr. Berman issued a statement today that declared that "The City has bent over backwards to accommodate one of the richest developers in the world at the expense of blue-collar jobs and businesses in New York City and their promises to protect the character of our neighborhoods." "This is a terrible decision. The city is changing zoning rules to suit Trump's need with this closed-door decision," he continued, adding that the decision would "encourage luxury high-rise development in formerly low-scale neighborhoods which currently have little new development.

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

A phone call from to Jennifer Givner, the head of the press office of the Department of Buildings, was not returned this afternoon.
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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.