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Thread: 440 West 42nd Street at 10th Avenue - 60 Story Tower - by Arquitectonica

  1. #61
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    A "zoning bonus" in this area was meant for specific types of businesses, in this case small developing theatres. I won't go into the details and reasoning behind this, but Cirque de Soleil doesn't fit into that.

    If Ross wants to also include spaces for the types of theatres that were removed -- along with Cirque de Soleil -- then I would have no problem with that at all. But Ross should not be rewarded with a "bonus" unless he makes good on his implied contract with the citizens.

  2. #62

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    Does anyone know what the final design is for the new building at 440 West 42nd....how many stories the building will be and when will they start construction?

  3. #63

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    As I understand it, the design hasn't been finalized because the major commercial tenants (including theatrical and/or orchestral) haven't been confirmed. This will determine the configuration of the building's base, and possibly change the zoning, determining the number of floors allowed. Right?

  4. #64
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    From the article:
    . . . Mr. Ross say that Related is planning a tower with about 800 apartments and has hired the architectural firm Arquitectronica to design it.
    This should be a good one.

  5. #65

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    11-11-05

  6. #66

    Default City Planning Commission

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    A "zoning bonus" in this area was meant for specific types of businesses, in this case small developing theatres. I won't go into the details and reasoning behind this, but Cirque de Soleil doesn't fit into that.

    If Ross wants to also include spaces for the types of theatres that were removed -- along with Cirque de Soleil -- then I would have no problem with that at all. But Ross should not be rewarded with a "bonus" unless he makes good on his implied contract with the citizens.
    A City Planning Commission meeting was held on Tuesday, November 15th to discuss this issue.
    A large and well-organized group from Manhattan Plaza attended to state their concerns that the small theatres that were demolished be replaced, that 'Cirque' is a circus and not legitimate theatre and violates the spirit of the zoning bonus, and that a venue of that size would change the area, making it an extension of Times Square and does not belong in the residential area that it is now.
    We'll see how the Commission responds...

  7. #67
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Equity Opposes Cirque du Soleil Venue

    December 02, 2005
    By Roger Armbrust

    http://www.backstage.com/bso/news_re..._id=1001613714


    Actors' Equity Association is opposing a real estate developer's efforts to build an 1,800-seat performance venue for Cirque du Soleil on 42nd Street in Manhattan. The actors' union has also proposed updating the definition of "live or legitimate theatre" in New York City's zoning ordinance.

    The Related Companies and its chairman and CEO, Stephen M. Ross, have applied with the New York City Planning Commission to build a 60-story apartment complex between Dyer Street and 10th Avenue. The company has also proposed amending the "theatre bonus," a city zoning regulation designed to foster the construction of theatres on 42nd Street west of Theatre Row. The amended bonus would let Related build an apartment tower higher than allowed under normal city building regulations and include the performance facility.

    Lee Compton, chair of Community Board 4, whose area includes the proposed construction site, told the Planning Commission on Nov. 16, "Currently the bonus is available only to developments that include 'new legitimate theatre uses.' " He said that his board opposed amending the bonus to allow the Cirque du Soleil space, which he referred to as a "very large Times Square-style entertainment venue."

    While the community board supports the effort to build new apartments, Compton said, the plan for the performance space was "very distressing to us and to members of our community." He added that the bonus "was intended to provide for small theatres."

    Siding with the community board, Equity followed up with a Nov. 18 letter to Amanda Burden, chair of the Planning Commission. Equity provided Back Stage with a copy of the letter this week.

    "Actors' Equity strongly opposes any change...that would permit uses other than legitimate theatre" for the Related Companies development, wrote Alan Eisenberg, Equity's executive director.

    Clarifying the union's reason for its opposition, Eisenberg went on to write, "The selection of the theatre bonus was appropriate to the site at the time, and it remains so today. Legitimate theatre thrives on the principle of critical mass. That is why theatres historically congregate in districts. Attendance supports attendance. Additional theatre activity bridging Dyer Avenue will extend and greatly strengthen Theatre Row as a legitimate theatre destination point, increasing the box office of existing theatres and providing additional employment to all of the professional theatre crafts. Overwhelming or underperforming non-theatre entertainment uses in such close proximity to the theatres will, each in its own way, have the opposite results."

    Compton told Back Stage Thursday afternoon that the Planning Commission had separated the Cirque du Soleil "theatre bonus" amendment from the rest of the building proposal and that the Department of City Planning was currently "working on language that better fulfills the intent of the theatre bonus." The commission has not set a time to reconsider the issue, he said.

    Wants New Definitions

    Eisenberg's letter also asked the commission to revise the city zoning ordinance to include a more contemporary definition of "live or legitimate theatre." He asked that the ordinance be amended to define "play" as "an art form in which live actors deliver lines and in which the spoken word primarily propels the action and the plot."

    He also suggested a new definition for "musical": "An art form in which live actors deliver lines, lyrics, and dance and in which the spoken and sung word and choreography, accompanied by live instrumentalists, primarily propel the action and the plot."

    Equity's staff chief followed those revised definitions by applying them to the Cirque du Soleil issue:

    "These definitions provide a clear standard sufficient to the purposes of common understanding and the zoning ordinance. We submit that an orchestra rehearsal center does not meet this standard and that a circus does not meet this standard. The circus is a distinct form of popular entertainment with its own time-honored traditions, attributes, and characteristics. Cirque du Soleil recognizes that by its very title. It does not style itself Theatre du Soleil."

    On Thursday, Back Stage attempted to contact Alicia Goldstein, a spokesperson for the Related Companies. She had not returned the call by Friday afternoon.

    Maria Somma, press spokesperson for Equity, said Thursday that the union had not yet received a response from Burden.

  8. #68

    Default 440 West 42nd Street

    Does anyone know what the progress is on 440 West 42nd Street.....didn't know if they have the design on the building completed yet?

  9. #69
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Equity Opposes Cirque du Soleil Venue
    Well that sucks. I find Cirque du Soleil more than a circus. There are elements of modern art expressions to it. There is alot of acting involve aswell.

  10. #70
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime
    Well that sucks. I find Cirque du Soleil more than a circus. There are elements of modern art expressions to it. There is alot of acting involve aswell.
    Agreed. I don't see why having Cirque Du Soleil present would harm local theatres.

    If anything having Cirque Du Soleil in the neighborhood would bring in more theatregoers and tourists who might not otherwise even know that the theatres on far West 42nd Street even exist.

    It would also add to the neighborhood's activity and spur more theatre development in the area.

    As on the of the Equity people said himself, "attendence brings more attendence" -- and so why wouldn't the huge attendence that Cirque Du Soleil would certainly draw bring more attendence to the area's other theatres. It seems to work in Times Square proper.

  11. #71
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The reason is that the "theatre bonus" was specific to small theatres (99 - 299 seats). These are the types of theatres that have been shut down to build this new building. The developer knew going in that this is what was meant, but is now trying to re-write the bonus after the fact. A bit of bait and switch.

    Equity does not oppose Cirque de Soleil -- only this specific venue on this specific site.

  12. #72

    Default compromise

    I agree that the spirit of the language is being violated. but cirque is unique and having it in west 42nd street should liven up the entire area. perhaps they could reach a compromise by developing smaller theaters in other areas around west 42nd street.

  13. #73
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    Cirque belongs in Times Square, Coney Island, or Lower Manhattan - not on West 42nd Street in an area where the zoning specifies "theater." I'd love to see Cirque du Soleil build a permanent home in the city (and lower their ridiculous prices). This is not the right location and it is another example of a wealthy developer showing one thing on paper and attempting another in reality. As there are incentives involved for developers that follow the guideline, there ought to be penalties for those who try this kind of end run around the rules.

  14. #74
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    City Denies Special Bonus for Cirque du Soleil

    By CHARLES V. BAGLI
    NY Times
    Feb. 9, 2006

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/ny.../09cirque.html

    Stephen M. Ross, the city's most active and politically connected developer, suffered a rare defeat yesterday when city officials barred him from getting a valuable special bonus for bringing Cirque du Soleil to West 42nd Street.

    The developer had hoped to obtain the zoning bonus for building a $150 million, 1,800-seat theater for the elaborate human circus in the base of a 60-story apartment tower at 42nd Street and Dyer Avenue, a residential neighborhood more than two blocks west of Times Square. The bonus would have enabled him to build a taller tower and profit from the sale of ever more valuable apartments at the top of the building.

    But the proposal touched off a chorus of opposition from local residents, Broadway theater owners, unions and the community board. They complained that the theater bonus was intended to encourage theaters for small Off-Broadway companies often left homeless by the real estate market, not for a hugely successful venture like Cirque du Soleil.

    Some opponents argued further that Cirque, which has annual revenues of $500 million and performs regularly in New York, Las Vegas and around the world, did not qualify as a "legitimate theater."

    The city's Planning Department, whose approval was required, announced its ruling yesterday after more than three months of review.

    "We'd love to have Cirque in the city," said Amanda Burden, chairwoman of the Planning Department. But, she added, "at this location they simply do not qualify for a bonus."

    Although the city's zoning regulations are not specific about what qualifies for a theater bonus on the site, Ms. Burden said she based her decision on an unambiguous November 2004 city planning report that accompanied the rezoning of the area.

    "The new bonus would encourage the development of Off Broadway theaters between Ninth and 11th Avenues, thereby ensuring the continuation of the corridor's 'Theater Row' as additional development occurs," the report stated.

    Mr. Ross, who is developing the Gateway mall project in the South Bronx, Moynihan Station in Manhattan and several residential towers, could build the theater without the bonus, but several real estate and theater executives said it was highly unlikely because of the prohibitive size and cost.

    Local residents say the site, from Dyer Avenue to 10th Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets, has taken on the forlorn look of an abandoned project.

    More than a month ago Mr. Ross's company, Related Companies, had finished demolishing the 286-seat Houseman Theater, the 199-seat Fairbanks Theater and the other buildings that sat on the block.

    The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, who represents the district, said she was "thrilled" by the decision, which prevented the developer from doing an "end run" around the regulations.

    Jeff Blau, the president of Related Companies, said: "You can't win them all. But we respect the city's decision. We have to redo our plans and decide what to do."

    Asked about rumors that the property was for sale, he said, "The property is not for sale, as of right now."



  15. #75
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    That is too bad... Now we have to wait a longer time to see what will happen on this big lot.

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