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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

ULURP #060435 ZAM Application for an authorization for the transfer of 28,900 square feet of development rights pursuant to ZR§84-744(b) from the Martin Beck Theater to a receiving site located at 750 Eight Avenue

WHEREAS, Under a separate ULURP application, an amendment to the text of the Zoning Resolution has been made, the import of which, if approved, would be to make available unused development rights for transfer from the Martin Beck Theater; and

WHEREAS, SJP Residential Properties, Fifth Street Holdings, LLC and Jujamcyn Theaters LLC (collectively, the "Applicants") have applied for an authorization by the City Planning Commission for the transfer of 28,900 square feet of those additional development rights to a new, mixed use building ("New Building") located at 750 Eighth Avenue; and

WHEREAS, The New Building, excluding the subject development rights, will be a receiving site for approximately 82,000 square feet of development rights from the Brooks Atkinson Theater and 29,104 square feet from the Martin Beck Theater, resulting in a building of 257,362 square feet, approximately 42 stories high containing about 220 residential units and 6,354 square feet of retail; and

WHEREAS, Including the subject development rights, the New Building will be approximately 286,200 square feet; and

WHEREAS, ZR§84-744(b) permits the transfer of additional development rights, above that permitted by certification, by an authorization to a receiving site within the Eighth Avenue Corridor of the Special Midtown Theater Subdistrict, so long as two additional findings are made by the City Planning Commission:

WHEREAS, While the New Building is of no particular architectural distinction, it is no bulkier than other buildings on the east side of Eighth Avenue; and

WHEREAS, The purposes of the Theater Subdistrict include the preservation and continued operation of legitimate theaters, assistance to the theater industry through contributions to a Theater Subdistrict Fund, promotion of plays and theater-related uses and promoting the welfare of the Theater Subdistrict generally; and

WHEREAS, No aspect of the New Building, other than its required contribution to the Theater Subdistrict Fund, can be construed to promote the welfare of the theater industry or subdistrict, specifically in that the Applicants a) are making no provision for allocation of space to theatrical activities or support companies and b) will not agree to limit the use of the retail space; and

WHEREAS, The requirement that the transfer of "bonus" amounts of development rights result in enhancement of the theater subdistrict was an integral and vital part of the  community's willingness to accept the increased density from new developments; and

WHEREAS, ZR§81-744(a)(5) requires the contribution of $10 per square foot of floor area to be deposited in the Theater Subdistrict Fund, which is to be administered by a Theater Subdistrict Council, and neither the Fund nor the Council has yet been established; and

WHEREAS, Although the Applicant has deposited its required contribution with an Escrow Agent, the absence of the Theater Subdistrict Council, which is charged with determining the priorities for the disbursement of the Fund to best meet the needs of the Theater Subdistrict and the goals of the legislation, render the contribution meaningless to the community; therefore let it be

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends denial of the authorization for the transfer of 29,104 square feet of development rights pursuant to ZR§84-744(b) from the Martin Beck Theater to a new mixed use building to be located at 750 Eight Avenue; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the City Planning Commission be urged to reject any further applications under ZR§84-744(b) unless the applicants meet all the required findings consistent with the letter and spirit of the Zoning Resolution.

The above resolution passed with a vote of 35 in favor, 2 opposed, 1 abstention.

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