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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 238-05
Monday, June 20, 2005

Contact: Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958


MAYOR BLOOMBERG PRAISES CITY COUNCIL LAND USE COMMITTEE AND ZONING & FRANCHISES SUBCOMMITTEE ON APPROVAL OF WEST CHELSEA REZONING

"Today's approval of our proposed West Chelsea rezoning is an important milestone for our plan to achieve several crucial goals: preserving the High Line as a unique linear elevated open space, protecting more than 200 galleries that comprise an arts district, and stimulating residential growth, with a significant affordable component, in an area with a great demand for housing. City Planning's innovative application of a traditional zoning tool will enable the transfer of development rights that ensures the preservation of light, air and views surrounding the proposed High Line open space without jeopardizing the value of surrounding property.

"The zoning will also allow for the creation of new housing, primarily along Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. The agreement to permit the use of housing financing programs in combination with inclusionary zoning will help ensure that affordable housing is built. In addition, the rezoning will allow for up to $10 million for an affordable housing fund to be used in Community Board 4.

"More than 5,500 units of housing will be constructed in the former manufacturing areas of West Chelsea that were previously off limits for residential use, and on nearby publicly owned sites, of which 22% is expected to be affordable to households with a range of incomes. These affordable units are made possible by the creative combination of inclusionary zoning bonuses, City, State, and Federal financing programs. In addition, seven major developers, who own three-quarters of the appropriate apartments in the West Chelsea rezoning area, have reached an agreement with Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union to pay employees of these new apartment buildings the prevailing wage.

"More than 200 existing units will be preserved as affordable through the extension of
anti-harassment provisions. As with the Greenpoint-Williamsburg and Hudson Yards plans, we are enabling the transformation and reuse of New York's former industrial areas and realizing our goals for new housing, and significant open spaces in each of these neighborhoods. These comprehensive plans are part of our five borough economic development strategy to provide new economic and housing opportunities throughout the City.

"I want to thank the many agencies that have partnered with us to pursue the regulatory approvals required for the transformation of the High Line. On June 13, we received the Certificate of Interim Trail Use to enable us to negotiate a trail use agreement with CSX Railroad to transform the 22-block long High Line into open space. $75 million in combined City, State, Federal and private funding for this exciting project has already been committed, enabling a groundbreaking later this year on the first section at the southern tip of the High Line. When complete, we will have an incomparable green ribbon of open space that ties together the Gansevoort District, West Chelsea and the Hudson Yards, enhancing the value and the quality of living of these west side neighborhoods, and creating a unique destination for New Yorkers and visitors to our City.

"This complex plan was put together through the cooperation of the Departments of City Planning, Housing Preservation and Development, Parks and Recreation, the Law Department, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding. I am also gratified that we were able to work constructively with the City Council to bring this project to this stage of the approval process, notably Speaker Gifford Miller, Councilmember Christine Quinn who represents the West Chelsea District, Melinda Katz, Chair of the Land Use Committee, as well as Tony Avella, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Zoning and Franchises."




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