A City Council committee voted today to approve a plan to rezone Hudson Square, a sleepy neighborhood nearby the Holland Tunnel. The plan is expected to pass the full city council next month.
NEW YORK—The Land Use Committee voted on March 13 to approve a plan to rezone Hudson Square, a sleepy industrial neighborhood near the Holland Tunnel. The plan has the approval of Council Speaker Christine Quinn and is expected to pass the vote in the city council next month.
The City Planning Commission approved the plan last month. The rezoning plan would be effective immediately if it is approved by the full City Council.
The plan is proposed by Trinity Real Estate, a non-profit real estate division of the Trinity Church, which owns 40 percent of the built space in Hudson Square. Trinity’s main concern is the current prohibition on residential development in the area, which saps the neighborhood of foot traffic on nights and weekends. As a result, quality retailers have been hard to attract, even with financial incentives, according to Trinity’s Improve Hudson Square website.
“Today’s positive action significantly advances the process launched more than five years ago, and we look forward to the rezoning’s final consideration by the full council,” Jason Pizer, president of Trinity Real Estate said in an email statement.
The community adjacent to the area has been vocal in protesting the rezoning. This is especially true for the South Village, which lies north and east of the proposed Hudson Square neighborhood. Residents are primarily concerned with preserving landmark buildings in the area – six have already been demolished since the proposal to designate the area as a historic district in 2006, and one is currently considered threatened.
Before the 8-0 vote, the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises included an amendment which would have the city “study and consider” a landmark status for the area. Shortly after, the Committee on Land Use voted 13–1 to approve the amended rezoning plan.
“I’m disappointed in the vote that has the speaker saying that they will consider an historic district landmark status for the South Village and the Hudson Square area rather than just including that as part of the rezoning,” said Micki McGee, a resident of the part of South Village that has not yet been landmarked.
“The development pressures on this small, quaint neighborhood of five-to-six-story buildings would be enormous now that the Hudson Square rezoning has been approved and I really fear for the quality of life of those who have lived in the neighborhood for decades as I have,” she added.
Trinity’s plan, was also amended to include additional affordable housing and recreational space measures. The overall rezoning would:
- Raise the residential density limit in the neighborhood from 4 to 25 percent, similar to that of the Flatiron District
- Limit the height and bulk of the buildings in the neighborhood
- Create a school and allow for cultural institutions to enter the area
- Allow for a landmark building in Duarte Square, which would surpass the current height limit of 430 feet
- Promote local retail and prohibit big-box stores, as well as nightclubs
- Prohibit hotels with over 100 rooms, unless a special permit is granted.
Council Member Charles Barron cast the lone dissenting vote.
“I voted no because it lacks any formula for real affordable housing,” Barron said. “I don’t support the 80–20 affordability plan that this plan has: 80 percent market luxury, 20 percent affordable.”