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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Application for a Theater Air Rights Transfer to a Site located at 701 7th Avenue

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, December 12, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 34 in favor, 0 opposed, 1abstaining:

WHEREAS, This is an application by 701 Seventh Property Owner, LLC, owner of the property at 701 7th Avenue (Manhattan Block 1000, Lot 1) and Shubert & Booth LLC, owner of the Booth Theater, 222 West 45th Street and Schoenfeld LLC, the owner of the Plymouth Theater (a/k/a the Schoenfeld Theater) at 236 West 45th Street for a certification under ZR Section 81-744(a) to approve the transfer of floor area from the Booth Granting Site and the Plymouth Granting Site to the development site; and

WHEREAS, Section 81-744(a) provides that unused development rights may be transferred from theaters listed in ZR Section 81-742 to development sites within the Theater Subdistrict of the Special Midtown District. The Booth Theater and the Plymouth Theater are both "listed theaters." This application proposes to transfer 10,300 square feet of floor area from the Booth Granting Site and 34,688.16 square feet of floor area from the Plymouth Granting Site, for a total of 44,988.16 square feet of floor area, to the Development site. The total floor area transferred to the Development site would equal 20% of the basic maximum floor area permitted on the Development site or 16.8FAR; and

WHEREAS, The development site is a corner lot with frontages on Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street. To the north of the development site, on the same block as the t site extending from Seventh Avenue to the midblock of West 48th Street, are several 3 to 4 story commercial buildings with ground floor retail; and

WHEREAS, The new building will consist of the demolition of a portion of the existing building and the construction of an approximately 197,436.86 square foot enlargement. The building will be a 39 story plus mezzanine hotel, with retail uses on the lower 5 floors and mechanical uses on the top 3 floors; and

WHEREAS, With the transfer of the 44,988.16 square feet of floor area from the theaters, the new building will contain approximately 269,892.56 square feet of floor area (16.8 FAR), and, as currently designed (plans are not final), will have approximately 203,532.79 square feet of floor area for the hotel and approximately 66,359.77 square feet of floor area for retail use.

WHEREAS, The new building will be 500 feet tall to the top of the bulkheads. At the ground floor level there will be a corner arcade and a building entrance recess area. The Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street Street frontages of the building will include more than 12,700 square feet of illuminated signs, in compliance with the requirements of ZR Section 81-732; and

WHEREAS, As is required by the Zoning Resolution the proposed Second Confirmation of Restrictions, to be executed at the closing of the acquisition of floor area from the Booth Granting Site, demonstrate that Shubert and Booth Theatre, LLC, the owner of the Booth Granting Site, commits to operate the Booth Theatre as a legitimate theater for a period of not less than five years; and

WHEREAS, The Theater District Council established the Theater Subdistrict Fund for the express purpose of holding deposits and administering revenues received arising from the transfer of development rights pursuant to Section 81-744 of the Zoning Resolution. In accordance with the above requirement, applicant is going to deposit $791,791.62 in the Theater Subdistrict Fund; and

WHEREAS, The Board urges the City Planning Commission to re-think the contribution into the Theater Subdistrict Fund so that the contribution is updated on a yearly basis and in a manner which reflects the increase in real estate value. 

WHEREAS, Based on recent estimates of air rights values in West Midtown the contribution into the fund of approximately $18 per sf is less than 0.5% of the value of the air rights being sold; and

WHEREAS, This new retail/hotel complex promises to be a complementary addition to Times Square; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of this application for a theater air rights transfer to a Site located at 701 7th Avenue and continues to urge the City Planning Commission to re-think the Theater Subdistrict contribution rate.

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