New York by Gehry at Eight Spruce Street

  1. New York by Gehry

    Photo credit: dbox

Providing strategic guidance on Mandatory Inclusionary Housing eligibility and securing approvals for a dynamic Morris Adjmi-designed development in a Historic District

On this precedent-setting project, Acuity Capital Partners, whose anchor tenant Adorama Camera has been a vibrant member of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District since 1979, engaged our firm to shepherd its complex zoning application through the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) approval processes.

The worthy project—which involved creating a mixed-use development on the site of an underutilized parking lot and restoring two century-old buildings to first-class condition—faced a major challenge. While its Special Permit application was in pre-certification, New York City passed the high-profile Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) initiative. This meant that although Acuity had not planned for inclusionary housing, its project would become the first considered by the City Planning Commission and City Council for MIH eligibility.

In an atmosphere of intense media, governmental and community interest, our firm marshaled a coalition of respected real estate industry and preservation advocates to make clear that this project should not be subject to MIH. We communicated to key audiences the economic rationale supported by the Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY) and the civic concerns of the Landmarks Conservancy, which believed that applying MIH in this case would weaken the City’s ability to incentivize historic preservation in the context of new development.

This strategy and its sound arguments garnered the support of the local Councilmember, as well as the City Planning Commission and City Council, which approved the Special Permit.

Related Links:
New York Magazine: How to Wash the Windows at Frank Gehry’s 76-Story Eight Spruce Street

The New York Times: Downtown Skyscraper for the Digital Age