Volume 77 / Number 32 Jan. 9 - 15, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

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Hudson Square rezoning idea circles around one more time

By Albert Amateau

A group of developers who hope to convert a commercial building to residential use in the north end of Hudson Square are seeking the rezoning of five and a half blocks to allow residential development in what is now a manufacturing zone.

The rezoning, which the City Planning Commission certified Mon., Jan. 7, to begin the review process, was proposed by 627 Greenwich LLC, the partnership that owns a 12-story building at Greenwich and Morton Sts.

The proposed area, bounded by Barrow and Morton Sts. on the north, Hudson St. and a line about 100 feet west of Hudson St. on the east, Clarkson and Leroy Sts. on the south and West, Washington and Greenwich Sts. on the west, was originally part of a 2003 rezoning plan.

Those blocks, however, were excluded from the rest of the proposal that rezoned the south end of Hudson Square between Spring and Canal Sts. from Washington to Hudson Sts. to allow residential and commercial development in what had been a manufacturing zone.

There was virtually no opposition to rezoning the south end where there was major residential development under variances to the manufacturing zone granted by the Board of Standards and Appeals.

But advocates who wanted to protect manufacturing in the north end of the district, along with residents of the West Village Houses just north of the area, were able to convince elected officials to urge the city to drop the north end from the rezoning measure.

West Village Houses tenants were negotiating to buy the complex from their landlord in 2003 and they feared that allowing residential uses in a manufacturing zone to the south would push property values so high that they wouldn’t be able to acquire the complex.

But two years later, the tenants with the aid of the city successfully bought West Village Houses.

Nevertheless, members of the Greenwich Village Task Force, a West Village preservation group, are still against the north-end rezoning.

Zack Winestine, president of the task force, said he was concerned about the potential loss of manufacturing in the five and a half block area and a loss of diversity in the entire neighborhood.

“It’s essentially a gift to developers,” he said.

The resulting increase in property values would force existing manufacturing out of the area, Winestine said.

“There’s a whole community of filmmakers in the neighborhood and they wouldn’t be able to stay in business here,” said Winestine, who is a filmmaker himself.

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