Testimony for the City Planning Commission 625 West 57th Street Rezoning Hearing

My name is Nicolas Ronderos, I’m New York director of Regional Plan Association, a private, nonprofit research and planning organization serving the greater New York metropolitan region. RPA would like to express support for the 625 West 57th Street rezoning, which would complement other West Side initiatives that together are helping to transform the area from a manufacturing zone to a mixed-use environment.

The project will result in the development of much needed 1.1 million gross square feet of new buildings, including 863 residential rental units and 151 affordable units, 80,000 square feet of commercial office, 62,000 gross square feet of retail, 28,000 gross square feet of community facility space and 285 additional accessory parking spaces. The site is currently undeveloped and regulated by zoning reflecting previous manufacturing and commercial land use characteristics of this part of Manhattan.

The proposed actions include rezoning to commercial from manufacturing, large-scale development and other special permits and modification of the existing Restrictive Declaration on the site. These changes are needed to allow the proposed amount of residential space and to accommodate the exemplary architecture proposed by the applicant. This project would allow precisely the type of uses that will enhance the area’s transformation, with a mixed-use building with residential, commercial office, retail, community facility and parking uses. Provision of affordable housing and open space connections through the block also would benefit current and future residents.

RPA has supported residential development on the West Side of Manhattan since the 1920s and has been involved in neighboring projects, including Hudson River Park, Riverside South, Hudson Yards and West Chelsea that have transformed what was once largely a shipping, warehousing and manufacturing district on the West Side Waterfront into a mixed use residential district. RPA sees the 625 West 57th Street project as an important part of this larger transformation, which will enhance the livability of the West Side over the next generation.