The Real Deal New York

Rezoning could yield bonanza for far west High Line site

Change in designation could yield 175K buildable square feet for small property

September 30, 2014 05:30PM
By Rich Bockmann

From left: Bob Knakal and a map showing 606 West 30th Street

From left: Bob Knakal and a map showing 606 West 30th Street

The owner of a small development site facing the newly-opened section of the High Line is looking to sell, but the property’s zoning requires a buyer who can see the potential in some of the most remote real estate on the Far West Side.

Massey Knakal Realty Services has a contract to list the property at 606 West 30th Street between 11th and 12th avenues, which sits across the street from the western section of the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards project and the final section of the High Line that opened earlier this month.

Those two projects have spurred a boom in tall apartment towers lining the eastern side of the park’s final spur. But to the west side of 11th Avenue, restrictive zoning on portions of the block limits development to small hotels or office buildings.

As is, the West 30th Street property has the potential for only about 30,000 square feet of buildable space. If upzoned, the property could yield more bang for the buck, but city approval is not guaranteed.

“I hope to find a developer that can look very bullishly on what can be done with the property,” Bob Knakal said. The property, which currently has a one-story parking garage used by the city Sanitation Department, will not have an asking price, he added.

Last year the City Planning Department raised the idea of potentially rezoning the entire block, a process a department spokesman said is ongoing.

“We are delighted to see the third section of the High Line open successfully and recognize that the new segment of the park will help to stimulate growth in West Chelsea, just as the previous two sections have,” the spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.  “Aware of the key operational needs of the Department of Sanitation and the various interests of stakeholders, DCP will continue to work towards identifying a set of priorities that respond to the unique conditions of this block.”

Should the property be upzoned to the same kind of densities enjoyed on the other side of the avenue, it could yield more than 175,000 square feet of buildable space, counting for the inclusionary housing bonus mandated by the mayor’s affordable housing plan.

“Clearly, the property has value in its current state and a different value if it’s upzoned to one of the zoning designations that’s popular in the area,” Knakal added.

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