Air rights kerfuffle blocks Chelsea hotel development

Lightstone Group hopes to build up to 30 stories on West 28th Street

TRD New York /
Jun.June 07, 2014 10:00 AM

 Earlier this week the Lightstone Group pitched a new 25- to 30-story hotel to Manhattan Community Board 5’s Land Use, Housing, & Zoning Committee. However, acquiring the necessary air rights for the project has proven problematic.

The site, which is located at 105-109 West 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, is currently home to a small building, with a handful of residential and retail tenants, which are in the process of being bought out, according to Curbed.

Lightstone wants to buy the unused air rights of four nearby sites —111-113 West 28th Street, 114 West 29th Street, 116-118 West 29th Street, And 120 West 29th Street – allowing them to build a larger 110,000-square-foot hotel. If those buildings’ air rights are not combined into one contiguous lot the hotel shrinks to 63,500 square feet.

However, back in 1979 and 2003, the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals assigned no value to those air rights. Leaving the board torn over whether the air rights should be valued again before any transfer or sale occurs, according to Curbed.

Now Lightstone has promised the board that the project will appear again before the next meeting of CB5’s Land Use Committee before the BSA holds a public hearing on the air rights matter. [Curbed] Christopher Cameron

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