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Thread: Con Ed site on the East River

  1. #886
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    Feb 2003
    New York City


    East River project moves forward

    by amy zimmer / metro new york

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    AUG 23, 2007

    MANHATTAN. Midtown’s East River waterfront is poised to undergo a massive facelift, but not without a fight from elected officials and residents.

    Developer Sheldon Solow’s plans to transform the 9-acre former ConEd parcel between 35th and 41st streets with six luxury residential towers ranging from 37 to 69 stories, a 688-foot-tall office building and 1,500 parking spots. His application to change the area’s zoning passed an initial hurdle this week when the Dept. of City Planning kicked off the formal review process.

    “It is far too big and far too dense for this neighborhood,” City Councilman Dan Garodnick told Metro yesterday.

    He doesn’t support an office tower in a residential area, nor does he want the proposed buildings to dwarf the United Nations’ Secretariat. He’s also confused by the proposed number of parking spaces at a time when the city is trying to reduce Manhattan traffic.

    But Garodnick also sees an opening.

    With more construction on the horizon — the United Nations’ nearly $2 billion renovation and expansion of its headquarters is under way, and the state Dept. of Transportation is rebuilding the adjacent segment of the FDR Drive — he and other officials are calling for an overall plan for the area to include a grand waterfront park.

    “Life doesn’t provide many opportunities like this,” said Kent Barwick, president of the Municipal Art Society. “The public has been denied access to the waterfront for a long time. The industrial park of Con Edison had a forbidding chain link fence, and the U.N. was walled off even before 9/11.”

    In June, the MAS brought together six leading landscape architects — including designers of MoMA’s roof garden and the High Line — to brainstorm. The group will present visions this fall.

    Using a guiding principle to “elevate people, not cars,” the designers presented preliminary renderings with a deck over the FDR Drive, extending the ground level of First Avenue from 42nd to 38th streets.

    While Solow’s application includes a platform, the developer’s 4.3 acres of open space falls short of what the community wants. Solow’s office did not return calls for comment.

    “Nobody needs to lose” here, Barwick said. “It’s not like we’re asking Solow to go away or the U.N. not to build.”

    Park plans

    The U.N. has been pondering a possible waterfront esplanade with the Parks Dept. Parks officials plan to meet with Garodnick on Sept. 10 to discuss potential park plans.

  2. #887


    Plans for redevelopment of Con Ed sites near UN certified

    Community Board 6 will hold six meetings next month of the plans by Sheldon H. Solow to redevelop the former Con Ed facilities along the East River south of the United Nations complex that the proposal notes was "built on Abbatoir Center, an area of slaughterhouse and stock yards."

    The plans were certified into the Uniform Land Use Review Process August 20 by the City Planning Commission.

    In June, 2006, Mr. Solow presented a significant revision of his plans to the community board that lowered the heights of the planned towers and repositioned a major park space with an oval pool closer to the eastern edge of the site. His previous plan called for several towers, the tallest of which would have been 864 feet high, 27 feet shorter than the Trump World tower on First Avenue and 47th Street, which aroused tremendous community opposition because it broke through the area's unofficial height limit of the United Nations Secretariat Building, the city's most important building along the East River that is 505 feet tall.

    Earlier last year, the community board had submitted to the planning department its own specific development plan for the site that calls for much lower buildings, no commercial office space, the inclusion of affordable housing, a school, and public ownership of cross-streets, shadow studies and a comprehensive plan that envisioned the removal of the 42nd Street exit ramp from the FDR Drive and the decking over of the drive to create new park land and waterfront access.

    Mr. Solow's plan has been designed by Richard Meier and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Margaret Taylor of SOM told the community board in June, 2006 that the housing units on the site will "likely" be a mix of rental and condominium units, adding that it then did not call for any "affordable housing." She said that the plan includes a five-story community facility of about 120,000 square feet that conceivably could be a school. Ms. Taylor said that the plan created a three-block-long promenade overlooking the East River at a height where the FDR Drive could be bridged over to create more public space and access to an esplanade along the river.

    The development consists of two separated parcels fronting on First Avenue between 35th and 41st Streets and requires numerous public approvals.

    The larger of the two parcels is T-shaped and comprises about two-thirds of the block between 39th and 40th Streets on the west side of First Avenue, identified as 685 First Avenue, and the three blocks to the east of First Avenue between 38th and 41st Streets and the FDR Drive, the southern part identified as 700 First Avenue and the northern part identified as 708 First Avenue. This parcel will be developed, according to papers filed with the city in June, with 2,267 apartments and a "significant amount of commercial office space, retail space," parking and "publicly accessible open space."

    The 685 First Avenue development would consist of a 718-foot-tall, 69-story apartment building with a 110-space accessory parking garage.

    The 700 First Avenue development would consist of three apartment buildings, a 689-foot-high, 66-story building, a 602-foot-high, 57-story building, and a 631-foot-high, 60-story building.

    The 708 First Avenue development would be a 666-foot-high, 45-story building with 1,369,567 square feet of office space.

    Below grade at 700 and 708 First Avenue would be a 651-space public parking garage and a 499-space accessory parking garage.
    The second "parcel" of the proposed Solow plan is identified as 616 First Avenue and consists of the full block bounded by 35th and 36th Streets east of First Avenue and would contain 827 residential units in a 505-foot-high, 47-story building and a 431-foot-high, 37-story building with 113,063 square feet of community facility area in a five-story.

  3. #888


    At least there is some progress. 700 feet seems to the accpetable max. height in Midtown these days. Not anything at all astounding, but very respectable for a residential building. Thank you Mr. Trump for breaking the Nimby created UN height limit.

    So what is Solow's track record with nimby's. Does he typically give in, or does he like to stick with his plans?

  4. #889


    I guess this can be considered good news. Of course the "community" will not be happy with this.

  5. #890


    the unofficial height limit is ridiculous, the secretariat isnt famous for its height so whats wrong with building taller, its just stupidity. Im losing interest in this project, could have been monumental so unless the buildings are of create architectural merit im signing off on this one.

  6. #891


    So we get shorter buildings and an extra tower...

    616 First Ave. 45 floors 578 feet - residential
    685 First Ave. 67 floors 836 feet - residential
    700 First Ave. A 63 floors 792 feet - residential
    700 First Ave. B 50 floors 643 feet - residential
    708 First Ave. A 57 floors 864 feet - mixed use
    708 First Ave. B 40 floors 528 feet - residential

    616 First Avenue, 47 stories, 505 feet - Mixed Use
    616 First Avenue, 37 stories, 431 feet - Residential
    685 First Avenue, 69 stories, 718 feet - Residential
    700 First Avenue, 66 stories, 689 feet - Residential
    700 First Avenue, 60 stories, 631 feet - Residential
    700 First Avenue, 57 stories, 602 feet - Residential
    708 First Avenue, 45 stories, 666 feet - Office

    Smells like a tabletop. Imagine if the Nimby's get their 505' limit and we're stuck with a row of 7 500' buildings.
    How the hell could that be respectful to the U.N.?

  7. #892
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    May 2007
    New York City


    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    Smells like a tabletop. Imagine if the Nimby's get their 505' limit and we're stuck with a row of 7 500' buildings.

  8. #893
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY


    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post

    ...instead of like this:

    So this is the best that we can do for a prominent waterfront location...pity . No city squanders more waterfront space with mundane designs more than NYC. All sites that should be developed with great architectureare wasted with mediocre designs. Namely: the downtown 60's boxes, Riverside Park, Queens West, Chelsea Piers (ugh!), W42nd street.

  9. #894
    Architectural Padawan
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Turtle Bay


    Just wanted to make sure that everyone knew about the upcoming public meeting on this subject:

    Public Hearing on Con Ed Waterside Site on September 20th:
    East River Realty has now submitted their Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) application for the Con Ed Waterside site, which begins the review process for the rezoning of the site. Community Board 6 will be holding a hearing as part of the ULURP process on September 20, beginning at 7PM at the NYU Medical Center, 550 First Avenue, in Classroom A. This is an incredibly important opportunity for the members of the community to make sure their voices are heard on this project, which will have a dramatic impact on the East Side of Manhattan, and I urge all interested parties to join me in testifying at the hearing.

  10. #895


    I believe ill try an attend this one, might end up slapping a few nimbys

  11. #896
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    I'm going (I'll be the vociferous one ). Thanks for the heads-up D.

  12. #897


    Do you think if enough of us go we can cancel out the nimbys?

  13. #898
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    East Midtown


    I'll be there! I'm sure someone will counter my support of the plan by saying how such tall towers will block out the light coming into their baby's bedroom at the Corinthian and thereby cause the baby a Vitamin D deficiency. My counterpoint: buy some fortified milk you NIMBY!

  14. #899

    Exclamation Con Ed site: Nimby opposition

    I will probably will attend also, but I would not stand-up and speak publicly in support of the project. I you do intend to speak in support of the project; be prepared to face something like this -

  15. #900


    Exactly not how to make a stand in the 21st century. I think the crowd will be a little different on the east side.

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