ULURP # 060431 ZSM, application for a special permit pursuant to Z.R. §74-711 to allow portions of the Plaza Hotel which are contained within an R10-H zoning district to be changed from accessory hotel use to retail, restaurant, banquet, and ...
WHEREAS, The applicants are both subsidiaries of El Ad Properties ("Owner"), who is conducting a major renovation and restoration of the Plaza Hotel, located at 768 Fifth Avenue; and
WHEREAS, At a meeting March 10, 2005, the Board of Community Board Five opposed the issuance by the Landmarks Preservation Commission ("LPC") of (1) a Certificate of Appropriateness for certain exterior modifications and (2) a report for a Special Permit pursuant to a Preservation Plan, on the primary grounds that certain interior rooms of great architectural and historic significance might be damaged; and
WHEREAS, The LPC, with the cooperation of the Owner, designated certain rooms and circulation spaces as interior landmarks, including the Oak Bar and Oak Room, the Edwardian Room, the Terrace Room and the Ballroom; and
WHEREAS, On July 12, 2005, the LPC (1) found that the Owner had agreed to undertake interior and exterior renovation work and to create and fund a program for on-going maintenance of the building (the Owner anticipates maintaining a fund of approximately $1,000,000 which will be spent on historic maintenance by a Board of Managers made of up the various ownership interest in the Hotel) and (2) voted to issue a report to the City Planning Commission in support of an application for a Special Permit, and on October 26, 2005, the LPC issued a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior renovations; and
WHEREAS, The Plaza Hotel lies within two zoning districts: (a) approximately 40,000 square feet of the lot area on the
portions facing Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, are R10-H, permitting residential use, with hotel use by special permit (from which the Plaza Hotel is grandfathered) and (b) approximately 14,000 square feet of lot area, on the westernmost portion facing 58th Street, are C5, permitting commercial, residential, hotel and retail uses as-of-right; and
WHEREAS, In the R10-H areas, retail, restaurant, banquet and health club uses are permitted as accessory to hotel use, however, because of the decrease in hotel rooms from approximately 800 to approximately 285 rooms, the Owner has applied to have certain spaces in the building converted to Special Permit uses; and
WHEREAS, The Owner plans to (1) continue using the Ballroom as a special event/banquet space, and the Oak Bar\and Oak Room as restaurant spaces, (2) move the existing health club to a space on the third floor comprising 6,254 square feet, (3) use the Edwardian Room as either retail space or a restaurant and (4) within the R10-H portion of the hotel, utilize approximately 72,080 square feet as retail use, divided as follows: 50,208 square feet below grade, 14,830 square feet on the ground floor (including the Edwardian Room) and 7,042 square feet (including the Terrace Room) on the mezzanine level; and
WHEREAS, Concerns were expressed about noise and traffic disturbances potentially generated by the two 12' high loading docks that will be serving the hotel, residential, restaurant and retail uses of the Plaza Hotel, however, should there be problems, the Owner has agreed to remain available to discuss noise abatement processes and other problems with neighbors; and
WHEREAS, Concerns were expressed about the installation of signage by a future retail tenant, and the Owner agreed to submit a Master Plan for retail signage to the LPC; and
WHEREAS, Great concerns were expressed about damage to the landmarked portions of the building by the conversion to retail use, arising from both the need for circulation access and future tenant installations, however, the only demolition within a designated area arising from the change of use is a portion of on wall in the access corridor to the Edwardian Room, and tenants will be required to have any installation plans approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission; and
WHEREAS, The Owner has demonstrated great respect for the history and fabric of the Plaza Hotel, and has reasonably satisfied most concerns that the renovation/restoration of the spaces covered by the new uses will be consistent with the world-class nature of the Plaza Hotel; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the issuance of a Special Permit to permit portions of the Plaza Hotel located within an R10-H zone to be changed to retail, restaurant, banquet and health club uses.
The above resolution passed with a vote of 31 in favor, 7 opposed, 1 abstention.