The Real Deal New York

City should upzone West 14th Street: OPINION

New office construction financially viable without tax incentives around street's western terminus

July 28, 2014 06:05PM

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From left: 837 Washington Street and 809

From left: 837 Washington Street and 809 West 14th Street

The city should elevate West 14th Street to the status of other major Manhattan thoroughfares by upzoning the western portion of the road and revamping the Meatpacking District, writes New York YIMBY in an editorial.

YIMBY points to a couple of price trends as evidence of the need for a zoning revamp. New office space is going for more than $100 per square foot in the area surrounding Google’s headquarters 111 Eighth Avenue. And the western terminus of 14th street has become one of a handful of submarkets in which new office construction is financially viable without tax incentives.

The city should tackle the low-hanging fruit first, according to YIMBY. In this case, that’s the north side of West 14th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, where old tenements contribute little to the streetscape. Theses should be be upzoned to the maximum 12 FAR for apartments and 15 FAR for offices, opines the website.

Inclusionary housing could leave the neighborhood with more affordable units, according to YIMBY, or developers could pay into a fund to build below-market rate apartments elsewhere in the city.

The Meatpacking District could prove trickier, but here YIMBY suggests a façadist approach. Developers would preserve the exteriors of low-slung warehouses and build within or above in a fashion similar to the Hearst Tower and 837 Washington Street at 13th Street. [NY YIMBY]Tom DiChristopher

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