March 29, 1973 /
Calendar No. 1
Plan (Stage I) for the New York City Convention and Exhibition Center pursuant
to Section 8 of Chapter 1011 of the Laws of New York, 1971.
This Plan was
submitted to the City Planning Commission by the New York City Convention and
Exhibition Center Corporation on February 5, 1973.
The Plan provides
for the development of a major convention center for the City between West 43rd
and West 47th Streets outshore of 12th Avenue and the acquisition of the
Block bounded by
West 47th Street, llth Avenue, West 46th Street and 12th Avenue (Block 1094, All
Block bounded by
West. 46th Street., llth Avenue, West 45th Street and. 12th Avenue (Block 1093,
Part of the block
bounded by West 45)h Street, llth Avenue, West: 44th Street and! 12th Avenue
(Block 1092, Major portion of Lot 16).
Part of the area
bounded by the westerly prolongation of West 47th Street, the United States
Pierhead Line, the westerly prolongation of West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue
(Block 1107, Parts of Lots 14, 21 and 30).
The bed of West
46th Street, between llth and 12th Avenues.
The New York City
Convention and Exhibition Center Corporation was established by the State of New
York. (Chapter 1011 of the Laws of the State of New York, 1971) for the purpose
of planning, constructing, operating and maintaining a convention and exhibition
center within the project area.
In order to permit
development of the proposed convention center, the City Planning Commission is
considering the following Zoning Resolution Amendments:
pursuant to Section 200 of the New York City Charter, of the Zoning Resolution
of the City of New York, relating to various sections concerning the
establishment of a Special New York City Convention and Exhibition Center
Development Distract (CP-22264).
pursuant to Section 200 of the New York City Charter, involving an amendment of
the Zoning Map, Section Nos, 8a and 8c, establishing a new "CC" District bounded
by the northerly street line of West 47th Street and its westerly prolongation,
the easterly street line of Eleventh Avenue, the southerly street line of West
45th Street, a line 100 feet west of Eleventh Avenue, the southerly street line
of West 44th Street, a line at right angles to West 45th Street at a point 150
feet east of Twelfth Avenue, West. 45th Street, Twelfth Avenue, the westerly
prolongation of the southerly street line of West 42nd Street, the United States
Bulkhead line of the Hudson River, a line 80 feet north of the north side of
Pier 83, :he United States Pierhead Line of the Hudson River, a line 150 feet
north of the north side of Pier P6 and the United States Bulkhead Line of the
Hudson River, Borough of Manhattan (CP-22265).
These matters are
the subject of separate reports dated March 29, 1973.
The development of
the Project Area is to be planned and implemented in two or more stages, as
1. Stage 1 will
encompass the development of the convention and exhibition center itself
together with approach roadways and access structures.
2. Stage 2 and
subsequent stages, if any, will encompass development in the Project Area other
than that carried out in Stage 1.
Plan for Stage 1 is considered by the Commission for approval at this time. A
comprehensive Development Plan covering development in Stage 2 and any
subsequent stages is to be submitted to the Commission at a later
to be constructed in the Project Area pursuant to this Development Plan for
Stage 1 are to include:
1. In that part of
the Project Area lying west of the westerly side of Twelfth Avenue, a Center for
conventions, trade exhibitions and public shows, together with related
facilities for visitors to and occupants of the Center, and a berthing place for
The Center will
include parking for 2000 automobiles; space, exclusive of loading berths, for
the temporary parking of 100 trucks and a roadway for buses, taxicabs and other
2. In that part of
the Project Area lying east of the easterly side of Twelfth Avenue, the
a. An access structure, including pedestrian passageways, a
loading zone fronting on Twelfth Avenue for buses, taxicabs and other vehicles
and space to accommodate a future mass transit facility.
b. Ramps and
roadways serving the Center and the access structure.
3. A bridge
connecting the elements described in 1 and 2, above. The bridge at its lowest
elevation will be a minimum of 38 feet above Twelfth Avenue.
In addition, the
following public, semi-public, private and community facilities to be provided
in the Project Area:
1. Outdoor ice skating and tennis facilities, together
with a field house for users.
2. Landscaped open space, including active and
passive recreation areas; and . A restaurant or restaurants open to the general
The City is to
close in one or more stages on such date or dates as the Corporation may request
(1) West 46th Street between Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues, (2) that portion of
the space over Twelfth Avenue, the parallel Marginal Street and the West Side
Highway above a plane whose elevation is 38 feet above Twelfth Avenue for the
bridge connecting the part of the project area lying west of the westerly side
of Twelfth Avenue with the part east of the easterly side of Twelfth Avenue and
(3) portions of the Marginal Street west of the westerly side of Twelfth Avenue,
generally between the westerly prolongation of West 42nd and West 45th
The City is also
to widen West 47th Street on the southerly side between Eleventh and Twelfth
Avenues as required by the appropriate City agencies.
On February 13, 1973 the City Planning Commission scheduled February
28, 1973 as the date for a PUBLIC HEARING on the Development Plan and the
related zoning changes (CP-22264 and CP-22265) for the proposed New York City
Convention and Exhibition Center. The hearing was duly held on February 28, 1973
and continued to March 14, 1973.
spoke against the proposed project including a representative of the
Congresswomen for the 20th Congressional District, the State Senator from the
27th Senatorial District, the Councilman from the 3rd Councilmanic District and
the Assemblyman from the 67th Assembly District. Also speaking in opposition to
the proposed New York City Convention and Exhibition Center were residents of
the area and representatives of the following organizations:
New York Coliseum Corporation
Clinton Planning Council
The Convention Center Committee Planning Board #4
arguments presented in opposition to the Plan for the Convention Center were
that the Clinton Community would be sacrificed if the Convention Center were to
be constructed on the selected site. It was stated that the increased traffic
generated by the Convention Center would overburden local streets and create
hazards to the safety of area residents and increase air pollution in the
community. Representatives of the Clinton Planning Council and Community
Planning Board #4 stated that the construction of the Convention Center would
increase the value of property in Clinton and thereby increase real estate
speculation, It was felt that this would lead to the eventual destruction of the
opposition requested that there be a moratorium on all development in the
Clinton community until a comprehensive plan for the area is developed. Other
speakers requested a continuance of the hearing until complete environmental,
traffic and design reports on the impact of the convention center were produced
requested that the proposed site be moved to the Penn Central Railroad Yards
between 33rd and 37th Streets and llth and 12th Avenues. It was stated that
construction costs would be less than at the present site over the Hudson
The Chairman of
the Community Planning Board #4 suggested that the Convention Center be moved to
Flushing Meadows in Queens. He also suggested that on a matter of such City-wide
importance all sixty-two Community Planning Boards be consulted on the
of the New York Coliseum suggested that there was no market for the Convention
Center. He stated that although there were trade shows too large to be
accommodated by the Coliseum, these shows were committed to other regions of the
country. He stated that the current trend in trade shows was towards dispersion
and that the Coliseum could handle present needs.
spoke in favor of the proposed Plan for the New York City Convention and
Exhibition Center and argued for City Planning approval. Speakers in favor of
approval included representatives of the following organizations:
Office of Midtown
Planning and Development
New York City Convention and Exhibition Center
Building and Construction Trades
New York Chapter of American Society of Travel Agents
Motel Trades Council
Independent Theatre Owners
New York Convention and
Hotel Association of New York
Young Mens Real Estate
Association of New York
"West Side Association of Commerce
New York City Convention Center Corporation
Industrial League of New York
Hotels, Hospitals, Nursing
Allied Service Employees Union
Hotel and Motel Council
Fifth Avenue Civic Association
Speakers in favor
of the proposal noted that New York is the Financial and Cultural Capital of the
world and that trade shows requiring large spaces can not presently be
accommodated. Representatives of the Convention and Exhibition Center
Corporation stated that construction of the convention center would generate
$21,000,000 in taxes and in excess of 12,000 new jobs. In addition approximately
$300,000,000 would be generated by trade and tourist spending in the City.
Representatives of construction, hotel and motel, restaurant, and film theater
unions spoke of the need for new jobs to be created by the proposed
The Director of
the Mayor's Office of Midtown Planning and Development explained the criteria
utilized in the site selection process.
The reasons for
selecting the proposed site are:
(1) Easy access from Midtown Manhattan, at
or near the center of gravity of the City's residential population and close to
the major employment center.
(2) Minimal traffic impact on midtown
(3) No residential relocation. Alternative sites were considered
but found to be unacceptable.
It was further
noted that the proposed Convention Center and the Clinton Community could
coexist. The creation of a 16 acre park atop the Convention Center would provide
much needed recreational space for Clinton residents. Speakers noted that the
park would contain tennis courts and an ice skating rink for Community and
It was also noted
that the Convention Center design has provision for future rapid transit station
which could connect the facility with the City subway system if a crosstown
rapid transit line is built.
In addition to the
statements made at the Public Hearing supporting the convention center we have
received many communications from civic, business and union organizations
supporting construction of this center. A petition from local residents,
businessmen and property owners in support of this plan has also been
An editorial in
the Chelsea Clinton News of March 22, 1973 urged a conciliatory attitude on the
part of the Clinton community, but also noting that ".....a convention center of
the size contemplated would be a healthy stimulus to the sagging New York
The City of New York needs a new convention center. Major new facilities are
in planning or in operation in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas,
Portland, New Orleans and Atlantic City. Unless the nation's largest city
becomes competitive (the Coliseum ranks only eleventh in size and its space is
inefficient) our share of the market will dwindle and our economy will be badly
hurt. We will also lose out on the potential major gain generated by new
businesses and jobs.
reports since 1964 have documented the economic urgency for a new convention
center. It is essential not only to sustain the City's $1.25 billion convention
and visitor industry -- the City's second most lucrative source of income. But,
it is also vital to bolster the network of facilities and businesses that
support central office and hotel and retail activities. The noted urban
economist, Eli Ginzberg, in his recently published book, New York City is Very
Much Alive, underscores the importance of these linkages.
"Connected to both central office and retail and wholesale activity are a. host
of industries and establishments which furnish specialized business and consumer
services, from advertising to entertainment. Indeed, for much of the core of the
city one of the most important features of economic activity is the dependence
of individual establishments upon an immense complex network of business and
The new convention
center would provide a needed strong foundation for that complex economic
It will also
generate the kinds of entry level jobs that New Yorkers need. There will be
major new employment opportunities in retail stores, hotels, restaurants and in
the transportation and entertainment sectors. During construction, there will be
an estimated 2,000 jobs created and there will be 2,500 jobs for workers in the
completed structure and minority workers must have an equal chance for
employment on them all. In addition, it is estimated that the center could
generate as many as 20,000 new jobs.
location has a number of distinctive advantages. It allows the center to spread
out so it can contain the largest single expanse of floor exhibition space of
any such facility. The site is dramatic, centrally located, and involves no
In addition to
exhibition halls, there will be waterfront restaurants, meeting rooms, a
2000-car peripheral garage and a 16-acre rooftop space that can be used for
tennis courts, ice skating and other recreational uses.
substantial agreement that a new convention center would serve the greater good
of the city. However, residents of the nearby Clinton community objected to the
center's location and felt that it could jeopardize their community's
We have carefully
reviewed the prospective impact of the center because we too are concerned about
protecting the Clinton community. The greater good cannot be served by the
sacrifice of a viable community. We would not be prepared to trade off one for
We have met on
numerous occasions with the Community 'Board and other representatives of the
area. We have been in close contact with various City agencies charged with
reviewing different aspects of the proposal. We have had intensive discussions
with representatives of the Convention Center Corporation and. their plans have
As a result of these efforts, we have developed a series of
action proposals to protect, upgrade and preserve the Clinton
convention center plan, and the related actions the City will take, were
hammered out through intensive and responsible citizen participation in
cooperation with the community board. We believe the convention center, the City
and the community will be the better for the process and the result. While all
issues may not yet have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction, in working
together we have moved a long way in a short time toward a beneficial
The convention center was initially to be located between 10th and
llth Avenues, from West 44th to West 47th Streets. As a result of community
opposition because of the adverse community impact and relocation, the site was
changed to the present waterfront location described in the 1971 State enabling
legislation. Subsequently, the Community Board voted for a reconsideration of
the waterfront site, calling for the facility to be located elsewhere,
preferably in the Penn Central Railroad yards in the West 30's.
We have reviewed
the alternate sites suggested and find they would be inadequate for many
reasons. The most frequently suggested alternative of the Penn Central years
poses many difficulties. It is too far from mid-town hotels and business and
entertainment activities. Problems of access would be compounded because the
facility would be cut off by the clogged streets of the garment center and the
Port Authority Bus Terminal. Acquisition of the site would be costly and there
would be added construction costs because of the necessity to keep the railyard
active. While the location would be further from the Clinton residential
community, it would be closer to the Chelsea neighborhood. Changing the location
would solve very little; the delay would only create added construction, access
and cost problems.
We are convinced
the present location makes most sense. The germane issue is what steps are
needed to preserve the Clinton community.
On February 7, the
Convention Center Committee of Community Board 4 passed a resolution detailing
their position. The resolution expressed concern about preservation of the
community. It said that new commercial development could be spurred which would
cause massive dislocation. The committee asked why there was no priority given
to a school the community needed. They said that traffic proposals were
inadequate and that the environmental impact would be damaging to the community.
A copy of that resolution is attached.
A further series
of meetings were held with representatives of the Board and the Convention
Center Committee and other community groups. The Commission also met again with
various City agencies and the Convention Center Corporation. On March 9, the
Chairman, of the Commission sent a letter to the Chairman of the Community Board
Convention Center Committee specifying the Commission's -- and the City's --
response to the board resolution. A copy of that letter is attached.
The letter states
that preservation of the Clinton neighborhood is essential to the future of West
Midtown and that a six to nine month study of the area will be undertaken to
develop a "residential-conservation plan for the Clinton area." The Housing and
Development Administration is committed to spend up to $15 million over a three
year period to insure that the neighborhood conservation plan is carried out.
The City is also committed to commence construction on a public housing project
and to include a viable proportion of low and moderate income units in all
future Mitchell-Lama projects in the Clinton community.
responds point by point to the Board resolution.
---- A capital
budget amendment is being advanced to fund. P.S. 51.
---- The Planning
Commission has removed the 48th Street, commercial spine from the Master
---- The Planning Commission will also institute a moratorium on
upzoning to increase density for luxury or commercial development in the
---- The Department of Traffic will study circulation and traffic
The studies are to
be undertaken in cooperation with the Community Board. To insure that the
appropriate steps are taken to implement the proposals in the letter, an
inter-agency committee with responsibility for getting the job clone was
established headed by the Chairman of the Planning Commission.
Board, in essence, welcomed the letter as a positive response to their concerns.
However, they stressed that two main problems remained, a position supported by
elected officials of the area. It was felt that the proposed ramps at 46th and
47th Streets to provide bus and taxi access to the convention, center jutted out
too far into the community and would attract traffic through, instead of around,
the residential streets of Clinton. Concerns were also expressed about, the
to make progress in implementing its commitments. We have made
These views were
summarized by community representatives at the Public Hearing held on March 14
and in another resolution of the Community Board -- a copy of which is
Since the Public
Hearing, we have made significant progress in addressing both these matters. The
ramps have been redesigned. Access will be provided by twin conical ramps,
located on the Twelfth Avenue ft side of the inland site. Entering traffic will
arrive primarily from Eleventh Avenue or 47th Street. Departing traffic will
leave via a new internal roadway and then Twelfth Avenue. The new pattern is
detailed in a letter from the Convention Center Corporation to the Chairman of
the Commission dated March 23, 1973 which is attached.
circulation and ramp system has four advantages:
---- It greatly reduces the
impact of convention center traffic on the residential community.
draws the ramps back and away from Eleventh Avenue
---- It frees
approximately three acres which will be developed initially as a community park
and ultimately, according to the Corporation "with uses conducive to community
Interaction (such as) a neighborhood center, shopping, plazas ... it is intended
to be developed as a lively urban place and a focal point of neighborhood
---- And finally, it will result in a more architecturally
pleasing configuration. We have consulted with representatives of the
Transportation Administration and the Traffic Department. They agree that the
proposed modification will substantially reduce the traffic impact on the
Since the Public
Hearing, the Office of Midtown Planning and Development also held several
meetings with representatives of Community Board 4 to structure the studies
called for and establish guidelines for actions needed to carry out the
planning, traffic, land use, zoning and preservation recommendations. In a
separate action today, we are passing the budget amendment needed to advance
P.S. 51. We have a letter from the Board of Education stating their readiness to
proceed with this project. That letter is attached.
Letters from other
City agencies, including the Department of Traffic, the Department of Air
Resources and the Housing and Development Administration, indicating their
participation and cooperation in the efforts are also attached.
Any proposals for
subsequent development of the inland Phase 2 area, generally between Tenth and
Eleventh Avenues, from 45th to 47th Streets and a. parcel between 44th and 45th
Streets -- as outlined in the March 23 letter from the Convention Center
Corporation -- would require the approval of the Planning Commission and Board
of Estimate. Similarly, contemplated public financing arrangements for the $200
million project would also require further City approvals.
In sum, we believe
the needs of the City for a new convention center and the necessity to preserve
the Clinton community are reconcilable and -- in fact -- both objectives are
being achieved. Our commitment to each is equal and firm; both the economic
uplift provided by the Center and the retention of good neighborhoods are vital
to the future of the City.
(a) The Development Plan conforms to a comprehensive plan for the
development of the municipality of the City of New York as a whole as required
by Section 6(2) of Chapter 1011 of the Laws of the State of New York,
(b) The proposed Zoning Resolution Amendments including zoning map
modification (CP-22264 and CP-22265) and changes in the City Map are in
furtherance of the purposes of Chapter 1011 of the laws of the State of New
York, 1971 as required by Section 6(2) thereof and conform to a comprehensive
plan for the development of the municipality of the City of New York.
Relocation benefits are to be provided to individuals and businesses displaced
in the course of redevelopment which are at least equal to those for which
individuals and businesses would be eligible under Federal law- at the time of
their relocation if the development plan were an urban renewal plan.
Planning Commission hereby certifies its qualified approval of the development
Plan (Stage I) for the New York City Convention and Exhibition Center, pursuant
to the New York City Convention and Exhibition Center Corporation Act, Chapter
1011 of the New York State Laws of 1971, with the following recommendations for
1. The access ramp system shown in the proposed Development
Plan on Sheets Bl, B2, B3, B4, B5 and B6 and related exhibits be modified as
shown on the attached Drawing A - Roof Plan dated March 26, 1973. This conical
ramp system minimizes the traffic impact on the area east of Eleventh
2. The reversal of traffic flows on West 46th and West 47th Streets
between 9th and 10th Avenues be changed to substitute West 48th Street instead,
of West 46th as a street to have a reversal. The resulting reversal on West 47th
and 48th Streets between. 9th and 10th Avenues will provide further protection
to the Clinton community.
JOHN E. ZUCCOTTI,
MARTIN GALLENT, Vice-Chairman
GERALD R. COLEMAN, GORDON J.
DAVIS, SYLVIA DEUTSCH,
CHESTER RAPKIN, JAQUELIN T. ROBERTSON,