Westbrook, Atlas change plans for St. John’s redevelopment

Partners scrap proposals for big-box retail, elevated park

UPDATED, 5:03 p.m., Oct. 10: Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group are scrapping plans for big-box retail at the redevelopment of the St. John’s Terminal in Hudson Square, and have nixed a proposal to convert a defunct elevated rail into a public park.

The owners outlined their changes in a Sept. 30 letter to the City Planning Commission, based on input from commissioners and community members, DNAinfo reported.

Westbrook is looking for a developer partner to provide $100 million to help convert the terminal into a 1.7 million-square-foot office-and-residential complex.

The companies are no longer pursing the “big-box retail alternative” that they had previously discussed, and are now focusing on including at least four retail spaces on the ground-floor level at the north and south sides of West Houston Street, as well as three stores on the ground level on Clarkson Street.

The development partners said the changes were the result of “constructive, collaborative discussions” they had with the city, community members and elected officials.

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Westbrook had planned to convert part of the abandoned elevated rail over West Houston Street into a public park, but scuttled the idea due to community concerns over its impact on the pedestrian experience on the sidewalks underneath.

The developer is promising to include a roughly 10,000-square-foot indoor recreation space in the project, which will be available to the public half of the time it’s open.

Tobi Bergman, chair of local Community Board 2, said the indoor recreational space was “disappointing.”

“You’re still always going to feel like you’re in a condo amenity space where you don’t belong,” he said. [DNAinfo]Rich Bockmann