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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

N 150086 CMM and N 150087 CMM, 15 Penn Plaza, Application for the second and final renewal of two special permits (C100049 ZSM and C 100050 ZSM)

WHEREAS, In 2010, the City Planning Commission approved two special permits for the development of "15 Penn Plaza," granted to 401 Hotel REIT, LLC and 401 Commercial LP to facilitate a proposed commercial development on Blocks 805, Lots 40, 1001 and 1002 in Special Midtown District C6-6, located on the superblock between West 32nd Street and West 33rd Street and 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue:

  1. C 100049 ZSM – a special permit pursuant to Sections 81-066(b) and 81-254 of the Zoning Resolution to modify:
  2. The height and setback regulations of Section 81-27 (Alternate Height and Setback Regulations Daylight Evaluation); and
  3. The Mandatory District Plan Elements of Sections 81-42 (Retail Continuity along Designated Streets), 81-43 (Street Wall Continuity along Designated Streets), 81-45 (Pedestrian Circulation Space), 81-47 (Major Building Entrances), and the design of standards for pedestrian circulation spaces of Section 37-53(f) (Sidewalk Widening);
  4. C 100050 ZSM – a special permit pursuant to Sections 81-541 and 74-634 of the Zoning Resolution to allow a floor area bonus not to exceed 20 percent of the basic floor area ratio permitted by the underlying district regulations for subway station and/or rail mass transit facility improvements; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five recommended against approval of the initial granting of the special permits in the appended 2010 resolution, in large part because there was inadequate proposed mitigation for the development's adverse impacts; and

WHEREAS, Said special permits (C 100049 ZSM & c 10050 ZSM) became effective on August 25, 2010, the date of approval by the City Council, were renewed in 2014, and are now up for their final renewal; and

WHEREAS, 401 Hotel REIT, LLC and 401 Commercial LP, have submitted applications to the City Planning Commission requesting the second and final three-year renewal of the previously approved special permits, (C 100049 ZSM & C 100050 ZSM); and

WHEREAS, Such renewal may be granted by the City Planning Commission pursuant to Section 11-43 of the Zoning Resolution if it finds that "the facts upon which the authorization or special permit was granted have not substantially changed;" and

WHEREAS, Though Community Board Five has not found evidence that the facts upon which the original permits were granted had substantially changed, the absence of such a finding does not compel the City Planning Commission to renew these special permits; and

WHEREAS, The applications (N-150086 CMM & N 150087 CMM) are not subject to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, (ULURP) and do not require a public hearing by the Community Board or the City Planning Commission; and

WHEREAS, The City Planning Commission has asked Community Board Five for its comments and recommendations on the two special permit renewal applications; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is on record recommending consideration of the Hotel Pennsylvania for landmark designation, and believes that a renovation of this historically significant property would add greatly to the district at a fraction of the cost of the proposed development; and

WHEREAS, Applicant is requested to maintain ongoing discussions of plans for prospective development of this site prior to the expiration of these special permits; and

WHEREAS, Applicant is requested to provide clarity about the viability of executing the proposed public improvements that will not happen without Applicant taking their option to use these special permits; and

WHEREAS, As Community Board Five has asked for a higher standard of sustainable building design for this proposed development; and has requested that the applicant provide a more robust transit improvement package than the one currently described in its renewal application; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application for renewal of two special permits unless the applicant agrees to design and build to a standard 30-percent more efficient than the New York City energy code of 2015, and provide a more robust package of public realm and transit improvements consistent with those outlined in the Board's 2010 recommendation for denial.

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