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ENB - Region 2 Notices 3/16/2016

Negative Declaration

New York County (Manhattan) - The New York City Department of City Planning, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Adorama Special Permit will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves a proposal by the Applicant, 42 West 18th Realty Corp, for a Special Permit pursuant to Section 74-711 of the NYC Zoning Resolution (ZR) to modify bulk regulations affecting 38-42 West 18th Street/41-43 West 17th Street (Block, 819, Lots 14, 15 and 66) located within the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) designated Ladies' Mile Historic District in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, Community District 5, New York. The proposed Special Permit would facilitate a proposal by the Applicant to develop Block 819, Lot 15 with an approximately 103,112 gross square foot mixed-use building containing approximately 23,319 gross square foot of Use Group (UG) 6 commercial floor area at the ground floor level building base, and approximately 79,793 gross square foot of UG 2 residential floor area (66 market rate dwelling units) within two tower structures (17 stores and 16 stories tall) located above the building's base. The Applicant also proposes to expand a four story, 10,537 gross square foot commercial retail building to 10,835 gross square foot.

The proposed Special Permit is being sought in conjunction with City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) approvals, which require the exterior rehabilitation of the façades of two existing Ladies' Mile Historic District contributing buildings located on Lots 14 and 66. The project site was issued a Certificate of Appropriateness dated December 30, 2014 and Certificate of No Effect dated September 25, 2015 by the LPC, and a Continuing Maintenance Plan will be prepared in connection with the LPC approvals, which require the continued maintenance of the two contributing buildings on Lots 14 and 66.

The project site is comprised of three tax lots, Lot 15, 14, and 66, which together form a single zoning lot. Block 819, Lot 15, a through lot with two frontages (along West 17th Street and West 18th Street, respectively) is developed with a 54 space public parking lot. Lot 14 is developed with a six story, approximately 32,175 gross square foot mixed-use commercial building with a built FAR of 6.0; Lot 66 is developed with a four story, 10,537 gross square foot commercial retail building with frontage on West 18th Street. Both buildings are contributing buildings within the Ladies' Mile Historic District.

The project site is located in a C6-4A zoning district, which allows commercial, residential, and community facility uses with a base FAR of 10.0, or 12.0 if a site is mapped with Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. The C6-4A zoning district mapped on the project site permits a maximum building base height of 125 feet, above which a 15 foot setback is required, per ZR Sections 35-24 and 23-633. The district also requires a 10 foot rear setback per ZR 23-663; that through lots have a rear yard equivalent of at least 60 feet in depth, per ZR 23-532; that the minimum distance between buildings is 60 feet on a single zoning lot, per ZR 23-711. A maximum permitted height of 60 feet for a building with less than 45 feet of frontage on a narrow street (60 feet in width) is allowed, per ZR 23-692. The proposed Special Permit would waive the setback, rear yard equivalent depth, minimum distance and maximum building height requirements, and facilitate the proposed development on the project site.

The proposed Special Permit would facilitate a proposal by the Applicant to develop Block 819, Lot 15 with an approximately 103,112 gross square foot mixed-use building containing approximately 23,319 gross square foot of Use Group (UG) 6 commercial uses within a ground floor level building base. Approximately 79,793 gross square foot of UG 2 residential uses (66 market rate dwelling units) would be located within two tower structures (17 stores and 16 stories tall) on the floors above the building's base. The proposed development would also include 17 accessory parking spaces and 39 bicycle parking spaces located within a cellar and sub-cellar. In addition to development proposed on Lot 15, the Applicant proposes to restore facades of the two existing contributing buildings on Lots 14 and 66 in connection with the LPC approvals. A one-story portion of 184 gross square foot on the ground floor of the existing building on Lot 66, which is also partially located on Lot 15, would be demolished. The first three stories of the building would be extended to the rear lot line; the demolished floor area would be relocated, and the building would be expanded. Both buildings would be occupied by UG 6 commercial retail uses in the future with the proposed Special Permit.

It should be noted that the project site was previously subject to several actions sought before the New York City Planning Commission (NYCPC). In 2003, the NYCPC approved a Special Permit pursuant to ZR Section 74‐711 (38-42 West 18th Street, CEQR No. 02DCP030M) to allow residential uses (not permitted in an M1-6M zoning district, the zoning district mapped on the project site at the time) on the project site. The 2003 Special Permit was also sought to modify bulk requirements. This Special Permit was sought to facilitate a new mixed-use residential and commercial building on Block 819, Lot 15; permit the expansion of the existing building on Lot 66 by three stories, and facilitate the rehabilitation of the facades of the two existing buildings on Lots 14 and 66. The Special Permit was modified in 2004, and was renewed for three year terms in 2008 and again 2011 before expiring on February 2, 2014. The project as proposed was not developed on Lot 15, and the properties at Lots 14 and 66 were not improved.

In 2004, in connection with the Ladies' Mile Rezoning (CEQR No. 04DCP038M) the project site was rezoned from M1-6M to C6-4A. An Environmental Assessment Statement prepared in connection with the Ladies' Mile Rezoning considered a 138,000 gross square foot mixed-use building containing 146 dwelling units and 13,800 gross square foot of commercial retail space to be developed at the Project Area. An (E) designation related to air quality, noise and hazardous materials (E-131) was assigned to the project site in connection with the rezoning, but the development analyzed as part of the rezoning was not pursued.

Absent the proposed Special Permit, the applicant would redevelop Lot 15 with a 74,387 gross square foot mixed-use residential and commercial building with 18,559 gross square foot of Use Group (UG) 6 ground floor level commercial uses and approximately 55,828 gross square foot of UG 2 residential uses (40 dwelling units) within the above floors. This development would meet the C6‐4A zoning district height, setback and rear yard equivalent requirements, and would subject to LPC approvals. The commercial buildings on Lots 14 and 66 would remain as in their existing conditions; no restoration work would occur and the building on Lot 66 would not be expanded.

The analysis year for the proposed project is 2018.

To avoid the potential for significant adverse impacts related to hazardous materials, air quality and noise, an (E) designation (E-378) is proposed to be assigned to the project site as described below. This (E) designation (E-378) supersedes an (E) designation (E-131) previously assigned to the project site pursuant to the 2004 Ladies' Mile Rezoning proposal.

Contact: Olga Abinader, New York City Department of City Planning, 120 Broadway, 31st Floor, New York, NY 10271, Phone: (212) 720-3423, E-mail: o_abinad@planning.nyc.gov.


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