555 West 59 Street (The Element)

Address: 541-543, 555 West 59 Street, 236-240 West 60 Street
Block No: 1151
Lot No: 5
Landmark status: No

Contact

Developer:
Moshe Dan Azogui
Brack Capital Real Estate
855 Third Avenue, 27th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-7200

Sales:
Shlomo Reuveni
Corcoran Group
(212) 977-5900
(212) 875-2841
srr@corcoran.com

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of site plans and status

UPDATE: 11/21/07

On 4/23/07 the City Council APPROVED the decision of the City Planning Commission on ULURP No. C 060381 ZSM, for the granting of a special permit.

On 3/28/07, the City Planning Commission APPROVED, with conditions, of the application for a special permit for a 190-space public parking garage at 555 West 59th Street. They also determined there would be no significant impact on the environment.

On 2/6/07, Community Board 7 of Manhattan DISAPPROVED the application of Element West 59th, LLC for a special permit to allow a 190-space public garage on the ground floor and cellar of 555 West 59th Street.

This site was rezoned from M1-6 to C6-2, and Brack Capital has built a 35-story glass tower on this one-acre site with 198 residential condominium units with 290,588 square feet. It is an as-of-right development, and the building includes indoor and outdoor swimming pools, basketball courts and tennis courts.

The building was completed in July 2007, and the condo offers storage space in wine merchant Morrell & Company’s temperature-controlled vault.

The building has applied for a permit to construct a garage entrance/exit on the south side of 60 Street, and Community Board 7 was unwilling to approve it unless there was 80% accessory parking to minimize traffic in and out of the garage. Also, CB 7 was unwilling to approve the garage unless proper safety measures were installed to warn children of entering and exiting vehicles. It wanted a motion-sensing arm, warning lights visible in both directions, cautionary signs, as well as markings on the sidewalk itself, states the resolution of February 6, 2007. Overall, the resolution disapproved the permit for the driveway, yet made it clear that it would think more favorably of it if its conditions were met.

You can read the entire February 6, 2007 resolution below:

555 West 59th Street (Amsterdam-West End Avenues.)

Application to the Department of City Planning by Element West 59th Street, LLC for a special permit to allow a 190-space public garage on the ground floor and cellar of 555 West 59th Street.

Richard Asche presented background. The resolution was presented to the Steering Committee because the ULRUP deadline was January 26, 2007. The joint committees heard the garage application on December 20 and January 9. Committee members requested additional safety features because of the number of children who use the sidewalk that crosses the garage entrance/exit.

Representatives of AKRF, SLCE Architects, and Element West 59th Street, LLC, and Jay Segal were present.

Mr. Asche asked the applicant to amend the application to provide for a minimum of 80% accessory parking in order to reduce the number of car trips and decrease the potential for accidents. The applicant will consider this request and will talk to the local schools about the most appropriate signage. All agreed to continue to work together on the application as it goes through the public review process.

The Steering Committee adopted the following resolution: 14 In Favor 0 Against

1 Abstention and 0 Present.

Element West 59th, LLC, the owner of the building under construction at 555 West 59th Street, New York, New York (between Amsterdam and West End Avenues), has applied to the Department of City Planning for a special permit to construct and operate a 190-space public (transient) garage on the ground floor and cellar at 555 West 59th Street, New York, New York. The proposed two lane entrance and exit for the garage is located at the eastern end of the property on the south side of West 60th Street, immediately adjacent to a large recreation center to be operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The proposed garage entrance/exit is located on a street which contains a school building (the Heschel School), a school yard (P.S. 191) and a large recreation center to be used by children. Additionally, there will be two other garage entrances/exits on the western half of the block.

Community Board 7/ Manhattan is unwilling to approve the proposed garage unless and until the application is amended to provide for the minimum of 80% accessory parking in order to minimize the traffic in and out of the garage.

Community Board 7/ Manhattan is also unwilling to approve any proposed garage (even if wholly accessory) unless and until the applicant has committed to specific safety measures designed to warn children on the block of entering and exiting vehicles and to warn drivers that the block is heavily traveled by children. Such devices should include, but not be limited to, a motion sensor- controlled metal arm across the exit lane; warning lights visible in both directions on the sidewalk; a siren or similar warning noise; cautionary signs visible both to the sidewalk and to exiting drivers; and markings on the sidewalk itself. Additionally, no tree should be located on a sidewalk, west of the entrance within 20 feet of the curb.

Community Board 7/ Manhattan also suggests that the developer explore blocking in some fashion (e.g., by means of a cast iron fence of short hedge) the area extending three feet out from the northern wall of the 59th Street Recreation Center eastward for approximately 20 feet from the northwestern corner. This will improve drivers’ sight lines looking east.

For these reasons, BE IT RESOLVED THAT Community Board 7/Manhattan disapproves the application of Element West 59th, LLC for a special permit to allow a 190-space public (transient) garage on the ground floor and cellar of 555 West 59th Street, New York, New York; and

BE IT further RESOLVED THAT Community Board 7/ Manhattan would approve a garage at the site if, but only if, (1) the garage application is amended to provide for at least 80% of the allotted spaces to be accessory, not transient use; and (2) adequate safety measures, to be determined by further vote of Community Board 7 prior to City Planning approval, are proposed and incorporated in the application.

Council Member Gale A. Brewer called up the item for City Council Review in order to incorporate the concerns of Community Board 7 into approval of the garage. After much discussion with all stakeholders interested in the special permit, the City Council approved the application on April 23, 2007.

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