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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Application for a city planning commission certification to allow the transfer of 18,075 square feet of theater development rights from the broadhurst theater to a development site located at 120 west 57th street.

WHEREAS, The Broadhurst Theater, located at 235 West 44th Street in the Theater Subdistrict of the Special Midtown District, is a "listed theater," pursuant to Section 81-742(a) of the Zoning Resolution and qualifies as a "granting site" under Section 81-744 which specifies the transfer of development rights from listed theaters to qualified receiving sites; and

WHEREAS, AREP Fifty-Seventh LLC seeks a certification to become a "receiving site" and purchase and transfer 18,075 square feet of development rights from the Broadhurst Theater for the construction of a 108,441 square foot transient hotel with approximately 30 stories, with ground floor retail at 120 West 57th Street; and

WHEREAS, The exterior and interior of the Broadhurst Theater were designated as individual landmarks in 1987 and 1988, respectively, and has previously made one development rights transfer in 2007 to 131-139 West 45th Street, with a second currently pending to 120 West 41st Street; and

WHEREAS, For the certification to be granted, several criteria must be met by both the receiving and granting sites:

1)      The Broadhurst Theater must show how it has computed its available development rights and upon the transfer of 18,075 square feet of its unused development rights, will irrevocably reduce the development potential of that property by that amount;

2)      Once completed, the transfer is irrevocable;

3)      The maximum increase of FAR at the receiving site cannot exceed 20%, which in this case would increase the applicant's development FAR from 15 to 18, representing approximately four stories;

4)      The receiving site must be located within the Theater Subdistrict;

5)      The Broadhurst Theater must: contribute $14.91 per square foot of transferred floor area, for a total of $269,498.25 to the Theater Subdistrict Fund and its grant program to further the goals of the Theater Subdistrict; provide a signed lease or a written commitment from its owner for occupancy of the theater and its operation as a legitimate theater for a period of not less than five years; provide to the Department of City Planning and Landmarks Preservation Commission a licensed engineer's and/or architect's report certifying the theater is physically and operationally sound so as to permit its use as a legitimate theater and were it not, it would have required a plan, program, and timetable to upgrade the theater to make it so; a legal commitment providing for the inspection and ongoing maintenance of the theater to ensure its continued availability for theater use; and a legal commitment for its continued use as a legitimate theater for the life of the related development at 120 West 57th Street; and

Whereas, Upon review, Community Board Five believes that all of these criteria have been met or will be met upon the granting of the CPC Certification; and

WHEREAS, While this project is contextual to the neighborhood, including two setbacks and a 20-foot rear yard, and although the building is not yet completely designed, it is expected to be a combination of glass and masonry, the community has several concerns with, and suggestions for the applicant, as well as for the administrators of the Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC which oversees the Theater Subdistrict Fund and as such, we strongly urge:

-- That the property owner strives to engage a top-quality hotel operator that will be attentive to the mixed-use character of this neighborhood, including heightened care given to how trash is managed and how noise from its public spaces is mitigated;

-- That before the building's design is completed, an effort be made to add sidewalk trees and other neighborhood amenities that contribute to the streetscape and quality of life;

-- That the Theater Subdistrict Fund, which has begun to make grants to New York performing arts organizations, as per its mission, where possible, to favorably consider grants of qualifying organizations in the area of the receiving sites; and

-- That the Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC, which is required to review the per square foot contribution rate every three to five years for appropriate increases, strives to do so at the three-year, instead of the five-year mark, which has been its practice; and therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the application for a CPC certification pursuant to Zoning Resolution Section 81-744(a) to allow the transfer of 18,075 square feet of theater development rights from the Broadhurst Theater to a development site located at 120 West 57th Street.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 30 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining.

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