The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Plan to Rezone West Chelsea Takes Shape

By Mathew Katz | March 19, 2013 6:57pm

CHELSEA — Look out, Hudson Yards — the northern end of Chelsea could soon be home to big residential towers.

A plan to re-zone areas of West Chelsea has begun to take shape, with members of Community Board 4 aiming to push dense and tall buildings to the northern end of Chelsea — close to the massive new Hudson Yards development — and away from its smaller, more residential blocks. 

The plan would move several blocks into the Special West Chelsea District, a zoning area created to help promote and encourage the High Line. It would put limits on the height and bulk of buildings from West 15th to West 17th streets west of Ninth Avenue, while at the same time allow the construction of new residential and office towers between West 25th and West 30th streets.

"One of the things we're doing with this proposed action is to move bulk from the south to the north, where it's much denser — where it belongs," said board member Joe Restuccia.

As part of its agreement over the Chelsea Market expansion in October, the Department of City Planning agreed to study and work with Community Board 4 on an expansion of the Special West Chelsea District, which was created in 2005.

The expansion required the city to move the historic building into the district, and now the board hopes to expand it further to protect the character of the neighborhood.

From West 15th Street to West 17th Street the proposed new zoning would prohibit any new hotels in the area and put strict limits on the heights of existing buildings, including Milk Studios, which was recently purchased by Chelsea Market landlord Jamestown Properties. 

From West 28th Street to West 30th Street, from 10th and 11th avenues, the zoning would allow taller buildings, allow more residential uses, and could include a measure to build more affordable housing. The proposal would also implement special design measures on new buildings that would preserve views from the High Line. 

Many buildings in the area of West 25th to West 28th streets, from 11th to 12th avenues are already overbuilt, but the board hopes to prohibit hotel use at any of the building and add more regulations controlling new buildings' height and bulk.

Finally, from West 24th Street to West 25th Street, from 11th to 12th avenues, the board sees room for more residential development and "slender" buildings as high as 250 feet along 12th Avenue. 

Board chair Corey Johnson said he's heard from officials at City Planning, who are positive about working with the board to make the proposal a reality.

"We want this to be more than a study," Johnson said. "We actually want some action to be taken here."