Rethinking Canal Street

June 14, 2010 12:30PM

Canal Street

A group of developers have commissioned a study to rethink Canal Street as they ratchet up a controversial effort to allow for taller buildings along Chinatown’s main thoroughfare, the Wall Street Journal reported. The developers say that Canal Street’s role as a major transit hub and commercial center means they should be allowed to build high-rise offices and apartments in place of the low-slung buildings that occupy much of the street. But they’ll have to overcome
concerns that their push would damage Chinatown’s economy and heritage. “It’s such an important part of New York, and right now it’s sort of blighted,” said Keith Lipstein of developer ABS Partners Real Estate. “I’m a big proponent, at least from a commercial standpoint, of that area being rezoned to the highest possible density.” The developers’ movement to rezone Canal Street comes amid a broader effort by business and community leaders in Chinatown to both revitalize and preserve the historic neighborhood. That effort is being spearheaded by the Chinatown Working Group, a community group that is hoping to agree on a comprehensive plan for Chinatown and submit it to the city by the end of the year. [WSJ]