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

Carter's View

The New York City Board of Standards and Appeals voted unanimously today to deny an appeal of the issuance of permits by the Department of Buildings for the construction of the Trump International Hotel SoHo at 246 Spring Street.

The appeal had been brought by the SoHo Alliance and supported by the Greenwich Village society for Historic Preservation. They contended the permits should not have been issued because the development, they claimed, violates the area's zoning that allows transient hotels but not condo-hotel residences.

Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Executive Director Andrew Berman and SoHo Alliance Director Sean Sweeney issued the following joint statement in response to the decision:

"We are disappointed but not surprised that the BSA, which is composed entirely of Mayoral appointees, has decided to uphold the ruling of its scandal-plagued sister agency, the Department of Buildings. In over 90 percent of appeals cases such as these, the BSA has ruled to uphold decisions of the Department of Buildings. The cumbersome and time-consuming BSA procedure is legally required before a challenge can be heard in court, rather than before an agency of Mayoral appointees."

"The court of public opinion," their statement continued, "is already squarely opposed to this ill-conceived project. With this ruling the case can be brought to the NY State Supreme Court, and that is what is now being planned by the SoHo Alliance....There has already been plenty of tragedy from the Trump SoHo construction; enough is enough. It's time to pull the permits for this disastrous project."

The critics of the project have maintained that the "restrictive declaration" that the City signed with the developers to supposedly ensure the building would conform to zoning restrictions on residential uses was unenforceable and a "fig leaf, intended to try to cover up the city's violation of its own rules and regulations."

"Trump and partners," the statement said, "were caught numerous times advertising the project as a residence, and a New York Magazine investigation in March found that prospective buyers at the Trump SoHo Condo-Hotel were directed as to how to get around the supposed prohibition on residential uses."

"While much of the structure is currently built," the statement said, "a successful legal appeal could still have several important effects. A ruling finding that a condo-hotel such as the Trump SoHo violates zoning rules in the area could result in the building being completely or partially dismantled, or, more likely, require the developer to seek a zoning change, which would allow the public to affect the size and height of an allowable development. The developer could also change the planned project from a condo-hotel to a straight hotel, which would likely discourage other developers from attempting similar projects under the existing zoning rules."

In addition to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the SoHo Alliance, the appeal was joined by the numerous organizations such as the Municipal Art Society, the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, the TriBeCa Community Association, the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association, Community Boards 1 and 5 in Manhattan, the Garment Center Industrial Development Corporation, and Tony Avella, chairman of the zoning committee of the New York City Council.

The building, which is still in construction, is already visible from midtown looking south on the Avenue of the Americas. If completed, it will be 454 feet high and contain 410 hotel condominium units and three suites and be the tallest building between 22nd Street and the Civic Center in Lower Manhattan.

The property is being developed by Bayrock/Sapir LLC, a partnership of the Bayrock Group, Tamir Sapir and Donald Trump.
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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.