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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Application by owner/developer of 12-14 East 48th Street for a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals for a hotel project

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, November 14, 2019, the following resolution passed with a vote of 31 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The applicant, 1248 Associates LLC – an affiliate of Hidrock Properties, is the owner and developer of 12-14 East 48th Street, located between Madison and 5th Avenues, and is requesting a one-year extension of construction time from the Board of Standards and Appeals; and

WHEREAS, The applicant is in contract with Hilton Resorts Corporation to build a 32-story, 161-key hotel and timeshare with ground floor retail at 12-14 East 48th Street; and

WHEREAS, 12-14 East 48th Street is a through-block lot with 50 feet frontage on East 48th Street and 25 feet frontage on East 47th Street and is located within the East Midtown Special Subdistrict, where new hotel development is only allowed by City Planning Commission special permit; and

WHEREAS, DOB granted construction permits for the redevelopment of a hotel at 12-14 East 48th Street on January 20, 2017, then a conforming use; and

WHEREAS, The East Midtown Special Subdistrict zoning text allows those hotel projects that started work before the Special Subdistrict’s enactment on August 9, 2017 to continue construction for two and a half years and allows the Board of Standards and Appeals to extend construction time up to either one additional year or January 31, 2021, whichever is sooner; and

WHEREAS, For the BSA to grant an extension in construction time for a hotel in East Midtown three findings must be met:

  1. Construction delays were caused by hardship or uncontrollable circumstances
  2. Project changes would prevent the substantial financial recovery of investment
  3. No public safety issues have arisen to necessitate special permit enforcement; and

WHEREAS, Major construction delays were caused by the discovery during excavation that the underpinnings of an adjacent building at 8 East 48th Street encroached on 12-14 East 48th Street’s lot, and by the subcontractor, as the pouring of the concrete floors of the hotel’s superstructure took longer than contracted and the subcontractor went out of business before the job was completed; and

WHEREAS, The applicant has been in contract with Hilton Resorts since the project’s inception and worked with a hotel architect, as the building is designed for hotel use; and

WHEREAS, The applicant explained in multiple ways that if they were to now change the use of the building, which is currently over 80% complete, to a different use – such as office or residential – there would be extensive additional expenses to make the building commercially viable and compliant with the zoning text for those uses; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five has not found any public health, community safety, or welfare issues that have come about due to this project; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application by the owner and developer of 12-14 East 48th Street for an extension of one additional year of construction time.

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