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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

N 150281 ZCM - 560 Seventh Ave at 40th St. seeks certification for transfer of air rights from Neil Simon Theatre (250 W 52nd), to facilitate the construction of approx. 29 story hotel and commercial retail building at receiving site, 560 7th Ave.

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, May 14, 2015, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 38 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, This is an application by 560 Seventh Avenue Owner LLC (the "Applicant") seeking a certification from the City Planning Commission ("CPC") pursuant to Zoning Resolution ("ZR") Section 81-744(a) for the transfer of development rights from the Neil Simon Theater (a listed theater in the Theater Subdistrict within the Special Midtown District) to facilitate a new 29-story mixed-use building at 560 7th Avenue; and

WHEREAS, In 1985 the Neil Simon Theater was designated a landmark site and its first floor was designated an interior landmark; and

WHEREAS, Section 81-744(a) provides that unused development rights may be transferred from theaters listed in ZR Section 81-742 (which includes the Neil Simon Theater) to development sites within the Theater Subdistrict of the Special Midtown District; and  

WHEREAS, With the transfer of the 19,771.5 square feet of floor area from the theater, the new building will contain a hotel (237 rooms), approximately 24,250 square feet of floor area for retail/eating and drinking space and a synagogue of approximately 12,110 square feet; and

WHEREAS, The increase in FAR at the receiving site will be 20% (the maximum allowed under the transfer mechanism); and

WHEREAS, In exchange for the privilege to transfer development rights, the Neil Simon Theater is committed to remain operating as a theater during the life of the new development; and

WHEREAS, The Theater District Council established the Theater Subdistrict Fund for the express purpose of holding deposits and administering revenues received arising from the transfer of development rights pursuant to Section 81-744 of the Zoning Resolution; and

WHEREAS, In accordance with the above requirement, applicant is going to deposit $347,970 in the Theater Subdistrict Fund; and

WHEREAS, Based on estimates of air rights values in Community District 5 sold between 2003 and 2011 ($203 in 2013 dollars) the contribution into the fund of approximately $18 per square foot transferred is around 8% of the value of the air rights being sold; and

WHEREAS, CB5 urges the City Planning Commission to increase the dollar contribution rate per square foot transferred into the Theater Subdistrict Fund significantly, so that the transfers better support arts funding and more closely reflects the increase in real estate value; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of thisapplication for a theater air rights transfer from the Neil Simon Theatre to a Site located 560 7th Avenue and continues to urge the City Planning Commission to significantly increase the Theater Subdistrict contribution rate.

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