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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

N 190376 ZCM, Waldorf Astoria, 301 Park Avenue, application for certification pursuant to Zoning Resolution Section 15-30(b), for minor modification of the rooftop recreation space requirement of Section 15-12 of the Zoning Resolution.

WHEREAS, AB Stable LLC (Applicant) seeks to convert 56% (878,000 SF of 1,595,137 Total SF) of the Waldorf Astoria from hotel to residential use; and WHEREAS, 301 Park Avenue is a 47-story Art Deco Hotel designed by architectural firm Schultze & Weaver and built in 1931, located in the East Midtown area; and

WHEREAS, Pursuant to ZR § 15-12, when converting this building to residential use, 50% of the building's roof area (40,550 square feet) must be provided as recreation space accessible to all occupants of the building and their guests, and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing the required rooftop open space be reduced to 22,708 SF, which is 56% of the total required rooftop open space, because only part (56%) of the building is being converted to residential use, and

WHEREAS, Although it is subject to appreciation, Community Board Five accepts this calculation; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing to provide 16,484 SF of total rooftop open space, which is still 6,224 SF below the applicant’s proposed rooftop open space requirement, and

WHEREAS, 8,634 SF of the proposed rooftop open space is at the hotel level and may be used predominantly by hotel guests, and

WHEREAS, The requirements of ZR § 15-12 result in roof spaces that are heavily used by building residents and consequently benefit the community by keeping proximate parks and open spaces less congested; and

WHEREAS, Pursuant to ZR § 15-30 (b), the Applicant is seeking a minor modification by Chair Certification, under which the Chair of the City Planning Commission would modify the amount of rooftop open space equivalent required; and

WHEREAS, Requirement may be modified by CPC Chair Certification if the roof either is unsuited for open space use or cannot be made suitable for open space use at reasonable cost; and

WHEREAS, With the grant of the waiver, the remaining rooftop open space would become private terraces for penthouse units; and

WHEREAS, The applicant stated that providing full compliance would require elimination of 9 hotel rooms; and

WHEREAS, The elimination of 9 hotel rooms is a reasonable cost in a project that comprises 375 residential apartments and approximately 830 hotel rooms; and

WHEREAS, Concerns were expressed that the granting of such a waiver would result in the 375 residential units in the building not having enough access to the open rooftop space to which zoning entitles them and would consequently make much heavier use of East Midtown open spaces and neighboring parks including Central Park which is already overused; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is extremely disturbed that an applicant would choose to design a non-compliant building, while expecting to be granted an exemption to said compliance without any form of mitigation; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five believes that financial support for the Central Park Conservancy would help to mitigate the adverse impacts of the grant of the waiver; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of AB Stable’s application for a minor modification of the rooftop recreation space requirement of Section 15-12 of the Zoning Resolution at 301 Park Avenue, as the physical condition of the site does not prohibit compliance and the cost to provide compliance is reasonable, and be it further

RESOLVED, Community Board Five would find it acceptable for AB Stable LLC to mitigate the loss of open recreational space by voluntarily entering a legally binding agreement for the property through a recordable restrictive declaration with an annual contribution, in perpetuity, of $125,000 to the Central Park Conservancy with annual adjustments based on increases in the Consumer Price Index.

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