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Coming Attractions Roll for Hell's Kitchen Megadevelopment

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Remember those crazy days when wildly ambitious projects were cooked up and revealed by developers on a daily basis? The credit crunch put an abrupt halt to all that, but wait, here's a leftover! It's a proposed 1,350-unit, 1.15-million-square-foot mixed-use development from our friends at the Gotham Organization, intended for a big chunk of land bounded by Tenth and Eleventh Avenues and West 44th and 45th Streets. The proposal received approval from the City Planning Commission on January 27 for the necessary rezoning, putting the project, dare we say, on track for construction. The multi-building design, called Studio City, is a staggered group of glass and brick from SLCE Architects, the centerpiece of which is a 31-story tower along Eleventh Avenue with retail at the base and apartments above.

Between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, where the empty Shamrock Stables now stand, a 14-story section with affordable housing will extend north-south through the site. On West 45th Street, the five-story PS 51 will be converted to residential use, and a new school and playground?expanding capacity from 276 to 630 students?will be constructed along West 44th Street. At the east end of the site a platform will be built over the exposed Amtrak railroad cut and two 14-story residential sections separated by a landscaped open space will go up, all backing onto the full-block Hess gas station along Tenth Avenue.

It's a bit of a no-man's-land, but the Studio City site sits within a hot development corridor, including Silver Towers, Clinton Park and the new Ink48 hotel (formerly known as the Vu Hotel). The spot has been eyed by developers for years, and back in 2002 a different proposal from the Meridian Group for Studio City as a big TV and Film production facility was in the works, but not much beyond the name moved forward. Then in 2008 Gotham proposed their development with plans to rise 44 stories over Eleventh Avenue, but the height met with community opposition. The project was downsized to the current 31 floors. Complaints aside, the neighborhood folks did succeed in getting a bigger school plus a batch of housing "for all income groups." Of the 1,350 residential units going in, 675 will be classified as "affordable." And a fund of $35M will be created to bankroll the school and the affordable housing initiatives. The environmental review still requires approval from the City Council and the mayor's office, but the architects proclaim that "construction in phases is scheduled to commence in 2010." Wishful thinking?
· Projects - Studio City [SLCE Architects]
· West 44th Street and Eleventh Avenue Rezoning Proposal [nyc.gov]
· It Happened One Weekend: Homeless Hell's Kitchen Horses! [Curbed]

Mercedes House

555 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 Visit Website

Studio City

600 Eleventh Avenue, New York, NY