Last night Community Board 2's Zoning Committee held a hearing to discuss a 15-story building that is being planned for 4th Street and Bowery. Roving tipster Sally Young was there and sent me her report.
“The meeting was a complete waste of time,” she said, as the plan is already a done deal. The development project was approved by Landmarks, who wanted to save the Skidmore House. In the deal, the developers were given a 99-year lease and allowed to build, provided they restore Skidmore.
• Skidmore house will be rented as a luxury single-family dwelling.
• Between Skidmore House and Merchant’s House there will be a small park--which basically exists so its air rights can be used to build the 15-story residential tower. The tower has only one setback at 63 feet.
• The ground floor of the tower will house retail and there is accommodation for one bar/restaurant seating 100 people.
“What was approved for Community Board 2 did not take into consideration what's going on across the street, in Community Board 3. JASA residents were there with their canes and wheelchairs and were shut down, and even yelled at. All they wanted to say is that the noise, construction now, bar life soon, and diminishing light (can they grow plants in their windows?) is impacting their lives. Short lives, I may add, since many are elderly and have lived in this neighborhood their whole lives.
Most people left with the feeling that this meeting was just information on what is going to happen. There was no allowance for community input. A person from zoning told us, and he seemed very sympathetic, that it is a done deal and the only thing that could be done is to sue Landmarks over passing this. This will never happen.”