City officials argue over Ladies’ Mile rezoning

Weisbrod says mandatory inclusionary housing doesn’t apply to 42 West 18th

Drawings for 38-42 West 18th Street (inset from top: Carl Weisbrod and Gale Brewer)
Drawings for 38-42 West 18th Street (inset from top: Carl Weisbrod and Gale Brewer)

City officials are arguing over whether a residential development in the Flatiron District’s Ladies’ Mile Historic District should be forced to include affordable units. The decision could have broader implications for the de Blasio administration’s zoning plan.

The Mendlowits family, affiliated with the entity 42 West 18th Street Realty Corp., requested a special permit form the city planning commission to build a 188,800-square-foot mixed-use building with 66 market-rate apartments on the lot. Under the proposal, the building would be 40 feet taller than currently permitted under the local historic district’s zoning rules.

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Under a citywide zoning plan passed in May, City Hall requires developers to include affordable units in exchange for a rezoning if they want to add height to a building.

But in this case, the city planning commission’s chair Carl Weisbrod argues that the rezoning simply shifts residential space from lower to higher floor without adding any net units. This, Weisbrod said, means the so-called Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rules under the new zoning plan don’t apply.

The local community board and Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer disagree. “When I recommended approval of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan, it was with the understanding that it would create affordable housing in projects like this one,” Brewer told Politico. [Politico] – Konrad Putzier