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

Carter's View

Community Board 4 voted last night to recommend to the City Planning Commission that a special permit not be granted for 12 additional parking spaces in addition to the 3 permitted for a new, 16-unit, residential condominium tower at 200 Eleventh Avenue in Chelsea.

The proposed parking spaces would be inside 15 of the 16 units rather than in a garage, the latest and most grandiose "amenity" to be offered in the current round of luxury residential construction in the city.

Several speakers at the meeting argued that while the number of requested parking spaces would not have a serious impact on the community a granting of the requests would set a bad precedent since the city's zoning laws only permit a developer to provide parking spaces for up to 20 percent of the project's units in areas in Manhattan south of 60th Street.

The vote of the full board last night was 31 to 10 with 1 person stating he was present but not eligible.

The building is being developed by Youngwoo & Associates, which is also involved in the Chelsea Arts Tower, a 20-story, commercial condominium building nearing completion nearby on West 25th Street.

A spokesperson for the developer noted after last night's meeting that the vote was not as lopsided as the Chelsea Preservation and Planning Committee vote last month of 9 to 1 with one abstention.

Mr. Woo, shown at the right speaking to the board with a model of the building at the left, said that financing for the project was based in part on the concept of the parking amenity. "Please give us a fair chance," Mr. Woo declared, adding that the project is "very New York."

The resolution passed by the board noted that "the application is admittedly novel," adding that it is "contrary to PLANYC's recently announced program to reduce vehicle trips and presence in mid-Manhattan" and "if granted, would by permitting accessory parking for some 90 percent of the apartments, set a dangerous and unwarranted precedent undercutting the intent of the Zoning Regulation if applied to larger buildings."

The city's recent rezoning of West Chelsea and the High Line area did not alter the city's zoning regulations relating to parking even though Chelsea, as well as other parts of Manhattan, have witnessed an evaporation of parking lots as they have been gobbled up for development in recent years.

The resolution also noted that the applicant "is entering discussions with the Fire Department and the Department of Buildings" over a communication from the Fire Department that the proposed parking system was "unsafe" based on a newspaper article.

A spokesman for the developer said that the Department of Buildings has already issued a building permit for the project and that he was positive the issue with the Fire Department "will be resolved."

Mitchell A. Korbey of the law firm of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, said that the building is replacing a taxi cab repair facility that had 30 "trips" a day and it will only have 8 "trips" a day. In a letter he submitted to the board, he argued "based on City projections for new development in Chelsea, by 2013 off-street parking needs will exceed capacity."

Robert Trentlyon, a board member, described the project as "the most ungreen thing" he could imagine and another board member suggested that the project was "very troubling because of its cultural values elevating the internal combustion engine."

The garage "rooms" may be the building's most unusual feature, but its most visible feature will be its unusual facade that its website maintains was "inspired by neighboring industrial lots, the concepts of Erwin Hauer and structural forms found in nature."

The building's facade has a base that will clad in gunmetal glazed terracotta while the setback tower design has very large multi-paned windows at the base of which curved stainless steel spandrels protrude.

Annabelle Selldorf is the architect for 200 11th Avenue.
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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.
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