In The News

City Club of New York Opposes LPC Approval of New South Street Seaport Tower

On Tuesday, May 4, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved by a 6-2 vote an application for a new residential tower at 250 Water Street in the South Street Seaport Historic District. This was the third time the Howard Hughes Corporation had presented the project, and this time, after the architects at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill made a few tweaks to the design, the LPC determined that the building was appropriate.

The City Club of New York stated our opposition to each iteration of this architecturally inappropriate, out of scale, and quite likely illegal residential tower. The approved design has nothing to do with the area’s historic architecture or scale, and the minimal gestures made in that direction hit a sour note.

Read the full article here: https://www.citylandnyc.org/commentary-city-club-of-new-york-opposes-lpc-approval-of-new-south-street-seaport-tower/

The City Club and other civic groups testify against the revised tower proposed at 250 Water Street

The City Club and other civic groups testify against the revised tower proposed at 250 Water Street, in The Architect’s Newspaper,  April 7, 2021. 

https://www.archpaper.com/

Op-ed piece was written by Jeffrey Kroessler and published in The Wall Street Journal on April 10, 2021. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-yorks-past-is-a-draw-worth-preserving-11617989593?page=1

Last Saturday the WSJ published an op-ed by Ken Jackson of Columbia stating that because the essential characteristic of the city is change and growth, the Seaport project must go forward.

Today the Journal published my letter in rebuttal, with another letter defending preservation. Because there is a paywall, the final text follows:

Kenneth T. Jackson asks: “Does New York Still Want to Be the Capital of the World?,” (Cross Country, April 3).  Dynamic change characterizes the city, not preservation, he claims, and blames the Landmarks Preservation Commission for blocking a proposal to build a residential tower in the South Street Seaport Historic District. But it’s a question of law. Is he suggesting that the agency shirk its charter-defined mandate? The property is a vacant lot, and has been since the district was designated in 1977. The LPC is legally bound to determine whether new construction is “appropriate,” and by no yardstick does this proposal fit that description. What could be built if the site wasn’t part of the district is irrelevant.
Is Prof. Jackson suggesting that the city ignore its own zoning regulation also? Because what the Howard Hughes Corp. has presented isn’t currently allowable. The zoning was changed during the Bloomberg administration in 2003 with the support of every elected official to bar development such as this. With this proposal, the owners are asking the city to ignore its own rules. By approving this application for a building that cannot legally be built, Landmarks is tacitly approving a request for a whopper of a zoning variance.

No one wants the South Street Seaport Museum to fail, but the city itself has starved the institution. Rather than hand the company development rights and then rely on it to write a check to the museum, the city could hand that asset to the museum directly, and tell the company to build as-of-right on the lot it purchased.

Jeffrey Kroessler
President, The City Club of New York
Queens, N.Y.

For Governors Island, the wrong way forward 

Read Jeffrey A. Kroessler’s New York Daily News February 28, 2021 Op-Ed re: Governors Island here. Find an excerpt below:

When mayoral candidate Andrew Yang suggested that Governors Island would be a terrific place for a casino, the idea generated immediate scorn. What could be less appropriate for that public gem in the harbor? Yet today, a plan for massive development is swiftly advancing through the political process with barely a speed bump in its way.

We want to know: What happened to the grand public playground New Yorkers were promised?

Read the full story

Why Community Groups Can Never Win Against Developers: The ‘Dreikausen’ Paradox and Other Hurdles, and Suggestions for Change

Making a motion you cannot win is usually sanctionable—but here, it is actually required.

By John R Low-Beer    September 18, 2019

Under current law, even the most meritorious legal challenge to property development faces insurmountable barriers once construction starts, because absent the most egregious wrongdoing, the courts will not order demolition of completed buildings, and current law makes it virtually impossible to obtain a preliminary injunction to halt construction. Read the rest of the article via New York Law Journal

Scrutiny into Extell’s Upper West Side tower’s mechanical space will continue

By RYAN DEFFENBAUGH  September 17, 2019

Developer Extell got some good news and some bad news Tuesday in its quest to build a 775-foot luxury apartment tower on the Upper West Side. Read article

 

Void venting: Extell 66th St. skyscraper slammed at B.S.A. hearing

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH August 7, 2019

During a Board of Standards and Appeals public hearing, opponents of the Extell skyscraper at 50 W. 66th St. challenged the building’s merits. Read article from The Villager

City Must Release Fort Greene Park Report, Court Rules

By Noah Manskar, Patch Staff May 1, 2019 6:50 pm ET | Updated May 1, 2019 7:01 pm ET

The city lost an appeal to keep a portion of a report on Fort Greene Park secret as the Parks Department pursues a major renovation there. Read article via Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch 

 

Suit filed to block Extell’s Upper West Side skyscraper

By

The suit comes after the city recently approved reconfigured plans for the 775-foot-tall tower

Read the article

Governor Cuomo Gives Hudson River Park $50 million

By Lincoln Anderson  April 10, 2018

Showing he’s serious about fulfilling his pledge, made in his State of the State address earlier this year… read article via The Villager

 

Diller Island’s demise; Goes way of Westway

By Lincoln Anderson  September 28, 2017

Before shockingly pulling out of the Pier55 plan two weeks ago, Barry Diller had already pumped more than $40 million into the ill-fated project, the media mogul confirmed to The Villager last week.

Read article in The Villager

Love them or hate them, NIMBYs are shaping the development game in NYC

ANDREW J. HAWKINS July 27, 2015 12:00 AM 

The owners of the New York Mets planned to build a shopping mall in a parking area next to Citi Field. They expected resistance—there always is in New York—but not from the son of the architect who helped invent the shopping mall.

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A Goad to the Powerful, Lately Dormant, Is Stirred by a Midtown Zoning Plan

Building Blocks
By DAVID W. DUNLAP AUG. 28, 2013

The City Club of New York has sharply criticized Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s rezoning plan for East Midtown. But in the newsroom, that’s called “burying the lead.

The real news is that there is still a City Club of New York.

Read more from the New York Times

Bloomberg’s Plan for Bigger East Midtown Towers Is ‘Zoning for Dollars,’ Group Says

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

AUG. 27, 2013

Read the article