By Aline Reynolds — Tribeca Trib, May 9, 2013
A massive new residential building, to soar high above its neighbors, is coming to Fulton Street.
The tower, between Nassau and Dutch Streets, will either be 61 stories or 48 stories tall. The difference depends on whether the developer, the Lightstone Group, expands its current site, which now includes 112-118 Fulton Street, and also demolishes the next building, 120 Fulton.
The company is applying for a tax abatement due to its inclusion of below-market-rate apartments as part of the proposed project. Meir Milgraum, Lightstone’s director of acquisitions, came before Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee on May 1 for advisory approval of a “421-a” abatement—to include the 120 Fulton site. Milgraum said that if they receive the abatement, they will erect a lower, wider building with more units (463 instead of 400) and more below-market-rate apartments (93).
Building a 48-story tower, Milgraum noted, would also cut down on the construction time by three to four months. A city-required, 1,200-square-foot plaza, on Dutch Street, would be part of the project. The committee voted unanimously in favor of a resolution supporting the additional tax abatement because it would result in more lower-rent housing at the site.
A city-required, 1,200-square-foot plaza, on Dutch Street, would be part of the project. The committee voted unanimously in favor of a resolution supporting the additional tax abatement because it would result in more lower-rent housing at the site.
The construction, which Milgraum said would take “two to three years,” comes on the heels of five years of reconstruction on Fulton Street as well as nearby work on the Fulton Transit Center and a new Pace University dorm on Broadway.
Jonathan Heuser, president of the condominium board at 119 Fulton St., a 15-story building across the street from the development site, said the continuous construction in the area has hurt property values and driven away nearby apartment owners and renters.
“The street has been dug up repeatedly, and it’s been incredibly difficult living through that,” he told the committee, “and we’re just, finally, coming out of it.”
The high-rise project, Heuser added, “is going to be a very traumatic experience for our building.”
In a phone interview, Jason Deland, who resides at 119 Fulton St. with his wife and two-year-old child, said the city is investing a lot in the area “but you don’t feel like there’s a lot of regard for the quality of the living experience. It’s a very, very hard thing to deal with, especially with a family.”
Speaking of the future tower, he said, “I don’t really understand the justification for something so large.”
Administrators at the nearby Downtown Little School, a pre-school on Dutch Street between Fulton and John, are worried that the high-rise’s construction will foul the air. The school recently experienced the effects of demolition work at a nearby building on William Street, which school co-director Kate Delacorte said in a phone interview produced clouds of dust.
“I’m assuming there’s going to be an awful lot of dust when they’re demolishing the buildings,” she said of the Fulton Street development. “If so, there’s going to be lots and lots of bad air.”
She is also concerned about noise impacts on her school. “Even when there’s a hammering of a nail in the building that we’re in,” she said, “we can hear it in the classrooms.”
Milgraum said that, to avoid street closures, the developer has designed the building’s first floor to be able to house concrete and cement trucks during construction. Additionally, Lightstone plans to work with the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center to mitigate other adverse impacts.
“In terms of the noise,” he told the committee, “that’s something we’re going to have to deal with, and we will be glad to work with you. In terms of safety, we do plan on cocooning the entire building all the way up as we go up.”
Demolition of the three buildings at 112-118 Fulton is expected to begin this summer.