Final (virtual) Hearing on St. Mark’s Place Office Tower Air Rights Transfer Sept. 15 at City Council
The final public hearing on the application to allow an air rights transfer to increase the allowable size of a planned office tower at 3 St. Mark’s Place (3rd Avenue) by 20% will be on Tuesday, September 15. In spite of overwhelming public opposition, in late August the City Planning Commission (consisting of appointees of the Mayor, the five borough presidents, and the Public Advocate) voted unanimously to approve the air rights transfer, adding thousands of square feet to the planned boutique tech office tower at this corner, long dubbed “the Gateway to the East Village.”
But all is far from lost. The air rights transfer cannot take place unless it also receives City Council approval. We and hundreds of our members have been reaching out to the City Council for months, urging them to reject this proposal. And in March, local Councilmember Carlina Rivera stated her opposition to the plan at the City Planning Commission hearing. If she maintains this position, and the rest of the Council follows her lead (the usual protocol on local land use items like this), the air rights transfer will be rejected.
A tech office tower on this corner is already woefully out-of-place; allowing it to grow 20% larger than zoning normally allows only adds insult to injury. Unfortunately this is part of a bigger picture of the City encouraging large-scale development – tech office buildings, hotels, and condo high-rises – in this predominantly residential, low-to-mid-rise area of Greenwich Village and the East Village south of Union Square. The 14th Street Tech Hub and its upzoning, approved by the Mayor and City Council in 2018 without promised neighborhood protections, is exacerbating this problem.