Government Briefs

A rendering of the Times Square redevelopment
Massive Times Square project to start this spring

A planned $40 million Times Square upgrade will begin this spring, according to a new timetable released by the city last month. The project will make the Times Square pedestrian plaza permanent, with new lamps and benches, and repave the area with a mosaic design. During construction, a 15-foot-wide path will remain open to pedestrians, two lanes will be open to cars, and access to all buildings will be maintained. The work will stop from Dec. 27 to Jan. 1 in order to accommodate Times Square’s annual New Year’s Eve festivities. Work will conclude for the area along Broadway between West 42nd and West 47th streets by the end of next year, while work along Seventh Avenue will be completed in the fall of 2013.

Chelsea Hotel
Chetrits hit another roadblock at Chelsea Hotel, promises to make building repairs

Despite getting approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Chetrit Group’s proposed rooftop addition to the Hotel Chelsea has hit another roadblock, this time with the Department of Buildings, DNAinfo reported. DOB officials last month rejected Chetrits’ application for a 3,865-square-foot addition to the building to accommodate a 150-person rooftop bar because records show the building is already more than 30,000 square feet larger and five feet taller than what is allowed under current zoning rules. Also last month, Chetrits entered into a court-mandated agreement ordering the cleanup of hazardous conditions in the building after tenants filed a lawsuit claiming that renovations have made the hotel unsafe to live in. If Chetrits fails to meet a clean-up deadline of June 30, they could face fines of up to $250 per violation per day.

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City reconsiders tax breaks for outer-borough owners

New York City is in discussions with the state to end a 17.5 percent property tax rebate on co-op and condo apartments that are not owner-occupied, the New York Post reported last month. The rebate program, introduced in 1997 to reduce the burden on condo owners, is set to expire this month, and requires approval from Albany to be renewed. Around 365,000 co-op and condo owners in New York are currently benefitting from the program, which costs the city some $445 million annually. The money that would be generated by the measure — an estimated $50 to $100 million — would then be redistributed to apartment owners in the outer boroughs through rebates and other tax changes.

The proposed Domino Sugar project
More lawsuits for Domino Sugar

Isaac Katan, a co-owner of the former Domino Sugar factory, last month filed another lawsuit to block his development partner, Community Preservation Corporation Resources, from transferring ownership of the massive Brooklyn site to its lender. Lawsuits have stalled development at the industrial site since the city approved a plan to allow 2,200 units of housing there, the Brooklyn Paper reported. In March of this year, Katan sued CPC Resources for fraud and breach of contract, claiming that his partner was negotiating to sell the site behind his back. But two courts last month rejected Katan’s motion to halt the negotiations. CPC Resources said construction on the project is slated to begin in 2013.