40 Stories?

Brownstoner and the Brooklyn Paper report on CB1’s ULURP Committee vote last week to endorse an additional 10 stories for 145 West Street. The project, on West between India and Huron, would be Greenpoint’s first waterfront development (if it ever gets built). The developer proposes to reduce the height of the midblock portion of the project from 15 to 5 stories, and move that 10 stories to the tower portion of the project, thus increasing that portion of the project to 400′ (39 stories).

Brownstoner says CB1 “likes” the plan – in fact, the response was much more ambivalent. All the talk about sewer easements and benefits to the community is largely BS. Nonetheless, the Committee did find that the proposal was marginally better than the as of right 30-story tower and two 15-story midblock towers. The benefits are largely to the affordable housing portion (five stories along West Street), which would not have two 15 story midblock towers looming directly over it. The bulk transfer would also push the out of context height away from the residential scale of the neighborhood east of West Street.

Since there is no increase in floor area, and the overall height does not exceed the maximum allowed for the waterfront, the transfer boils down to a question of where you want your sun-blocking monstrosity – all in one place, or spread out and closer to the lower-scale residential neighborhood. One might say that this proposal sucks less. It certainly makes the tower look better (although its still not going win anyone a Pritzker prize).

The Committee vote is just a recommendation to the full board, which could vote against the whole thing. The full board will meet at 6:30 tonight (2 December), at 211 Ainslie Street (corner of Manhattan). Sign up by 6:15 if you want to speak in the public session.