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70-Story Skyscraper Could Rise Next to World Trade Center

 22 Thames Street.
22 Thames St.
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FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A new 70-story residential tower could soon rise just steps from the World Trade Center.

The developers of 22 Thames St., who are in the process of demolishing a 10-story building on the site, are hoping to replace the low-rise structure with an 870-foot skyscraper.

Representatives from real estate giant Fisher Brothers, who bought the property in 2012 for $87.5 million, along with their architecture firm, Rafael Vinoly Architects, presented their preliminary plans to members of Community Board 1 Thursday, seeking CB1’s support for a zoning variance for the project.

Under the current zoning, the developers could build an 85-story tower rising more than 1,000 feet, but they would prefer to construct a shorter, wider tower that would better “fit into the context of the neighborhood," make for more spacious apartments and not obstruct the nearby 1,776-foot One World Trade Center, said Alex Adams, a Fisher Brothers project executive.

The zoning variance would allow Fisher Brothers to reduce the required setback of the building — the space between the edge of the property and the street  — from 20 feet to about 10 to 13 feet, allowing them to make a wider building.

The tower will have about 450 apartments, with 20 percent of them reserved for affordable housing, Adams said. The bottom floor will house commercial spaces.

Fisher Brothers will give a more detailed presentation to CB1's Financial District Commitee in September and will seek CB1's advisory approval for the zoning variance then. The city would have the final say over any zoning change.

Adams said he hopes to open the tower by September 2017.