clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

MePa Tower Builders Claim High Line is a Hardship

New, 48 comments

Remember last week's out-of-nowhere blockbuster reveal of a planned glassy new retail/office building across the street from the new Standard hotel? It's not as dead as local opposition groups would have us believe. The Architect's Newspaper wades into the messy topic of 437 West 13th Street, and the 215-foot-tall tower?designed by GKV Architects and James Carpenter Design Associates?is shaping up to be a bitter neighborhood battle. Community Board 2 did deny the developer's request to increase the project's floor-area ratio, but the board voted 32-2 in favor of the project overall. Developers the Romanoffs, who would tear down the meatpacking plant currently on the site, will take their request for a zoning variance to the Board of Standards and Appeals. Their argument is that the High Line, which runs through the property, prevents them from taking full advantage of the site, a charge that every other builder along the snaking park-to-be would likely guffaw over.

Community Board 2 Chairman Brad Hoylman told A/N, "The fundamental issue is that the applicant is using the High Line as justification for a hardship, but many members of the community board see it as a windfall." Another member of the board put it more bluntly: "I think it's bullshit." But will the High-Line-as-hardship argument succeed in getting the Romanoffs a bigger building? Matt Chaban writes:

Though the Romanoffs' argument that the High Line has created a hardship on the site may seem disingenuous, variance hearings at the BSA deal primarily with financial matters. The burden of proof lies with balance sheets, not ideas of appropriateness, context, or scale, which are the sticking points for preservationists.
The proposal is expected to head to the BSA in late March or early April.
· Diamond in the Rough [Architect's Newspaper]
· MePa Office Tower Revealed & REJECTED [Curbed]