New York plans for highest tower yet dependent on zoning changes

Silverstein Development Corp. is hoping to erect the highest tower yet in New York City. The only problem is that the development plans for this project aren’t quite in sync with the current zoning rules.

The current zoning calls for predominantly commercial development. However, Silverstein wants to use the property for mostly residential development. Their proposed plans are geared toward a building that would be 1,100 feet tall, housing 1,400 units. The building would be constructed in the Hudson Yard Special District, between W. 40th and W. 41st streets. This area just happens to be zoned mostly for commercial use.

Silverstein believes that this piece of land is not suited for commercial use for several reasons. For one reason, because of the other high-density buildings and two transit tunnels running directly under the site, a commercial office building would be difficult to construct. Also, the Lincoln Tunnel outbound approaches would fit in better with the Clinton/Hells Kitchen residential district. The residential district lies just north of the area, while Hudson Yards Special District is cut off by the Lincoln Tower.

Silverstein is hoping for changes to the current zoning laws. Those changes would need to double the amount of allowed residential space. Without these changes, it is unlikely this area will be developed fully because of lack of demand for office space, according to the Silverstein Development Corp.

New construction real estate attorneys for commercial or residential real estate are often able to work with entities to propose amendments to current zoning of an area. Proving that the zoning changes are in the best interest of the both the city and the people is the first step to getting such changes made.

Source: Crain’s New York Business, "Rule change sought for one of NY's tallest towers," July 2, 2014.