City Planning looks to lease 120k sf at 120 Broadway

Building is credited with spurring city's modern zoning laws
By Rich Bockmann | December 26, 2014 02:00PM

The Department of City Planning is eyeing a 120,000-square-foot lease in the building largely credited for the creation of the modern-day zoning laws administered by — yep — the Department of City Planning.

The city is looking to consolidate offices at two separate Lower Manhattan buildings into 120,000 square feet at Silverstein Properties’s120 Broadway, according to an application filed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services on behalf of City Planning.

Also known as the Equitable Building, the landmarked, 1.8 million-square-foot 120 Broadway was the largest office building in the world upon its completion in 1915. With its 38-story walls that rose straight up from the lot line without setbacks, the building enveloped its neighbors in shadow and incited civic fury that lead to the establishment of the city’s first modern zoning laws.

The City Planning department, headed by Carl Weisbrod, is currently headquartered at 22 Reade Street, where it occupies all of the approximately 99,000-square-foot building.

“The building is under city ownership and is currently in a state of disrepair, with ongoing maintenance issues, including poorly functioning elevators, inconsistent or nonexistent air-conditioning and heat; poor lighting, inferior meeting spaces and an antiquated layout,” the application read.

“Additionally, the City Planning Commission public hearing space is inadequate in size and does not have appropriate lighting and sound conducive for public meetings.”

The department plans to take space in the building’s ground-floor arcade to double that meeting space.

In addition, the DCP’s transportation division is currently off-site at 2 Lafayette Street, and the city is looking to relocate both offices and some 300 personnel to the 30th and 31st floors of 120 Broadway.