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Council Committee Approves Hudson Square Rezoning Plan

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After several delays, the City Council's zoning and franchises subcommittee unanimously passed the Hudson Square rezoning proposal this morning in a 9-0 vote. That means that Trinity Real Estate and other property companies with holdings in the area will be able to proceed with plans to erect residential towers and hotels in a district (see the map above for its boundaries) that is currently a hub for office buildings. Meanwhile, the opposition?which feared overcrowding of the neighborhood's schools, recreational and public spaces plus the kind of commercialization and gentrification that comes with highrise development?can't be happy right now. If you're still not sure what's even in that part of town and what the stakes are, check out our map of 14 current buildings and future projects in Hudson Square that you should know about.

The political nitty-gritty: The Council's full land use committee, which encompasses zoning and franchises, still has to complete its vote (some members haven't lodged theirs yet), but the count currently stands at 14 in favor to 1 against, so it will pass. And with the backing of Speaker Christine Quinn, the entire City Council is unlikely to disagree when the vote appears before it soon. But in their approval, the Council has also asked for some changes to Trinity's plan.

For one, the Council is insisting on 130 extra units of affordable housing, bringing the total planned for the area to 600. Then, the city will redirect $5.6 million of the "mitigation funds" (which Trinity has to pay as a result of the zoning change) toward fixing the roof at the broke, sinking, conflict-addled Pier 40 nearby (the passionate members of Community Board 2 will cheer for that giveback!) as well as expanding the services at the Dapalito Center, the area's existing (and currently overtaxed, according to many residents) public rec center. Trinity has already been required by the City Planning Commission to limit the height and bulk of new developments, build a 444-seat K-12 school at Duarte Square, protect the area's existing signature office buildings from demolition or conversion, and not erect hotels with more than 100 rooms.

In addition, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which had launched a full-scale campaign urging the Council not to permit the rezoning without also landmarking the South Village (which lies to the north and east of Hudson Square), scored a victory, too. Council members won a promise from the Landmarks Preservation Commission that the latter will vote on the section of the South Village north of Houston Street before the end of the year, and complete a survey of the southern part by then, too.

Will this neighborhood?a two-time Curbed Cup winner, mind you?now be primed for "revitalization," as so many advocates and politicians say? Or will rezoning just result in residents' continued dissatisfaction? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or send us an e-mail.
· Get to Know 14 of Hudson Square's Hotspots [Curbed]
· Hudson Square rezoning coverage [Curbed]