|The proprietor of the Grand Prospect Hall, Mr. Halkias.|
Make their dreams come true, for a change.
Before we start, understand that these pre-preliminary architectural renderings are just that, very preliminary. They can and most likely will change. We're talking colored pencil here, not cinderblock. No actual Buildings Department filings have been made yet. No environmental impact, shadow or traffic studies have been executed. Soil boring tests haven't even been undertaken. What we are looking at then is what the developers, the Halkias', say is essential for their business' survival in the 21st century... What they want to continue to make their dreams come true, as they say in their flyer.
"Think of it as a magnificent cake with a cherry on top."
Dream if you may a magnificent garage... Four hundred off street parking spaces to be contained within five floors, one at cellar level and four more to be street level and higher. On top of the garage will sit the hotel, 166 rooms on seven additional stories to top off somewhere below 120 feet or eleven stories total, not including bulkheads and other permissible roof obstructions like AC chillers, cell phone antennas, and elevator control rooms of coarse.
This grand vision all depends on acquiring a crucial zoning variance upgrade from their current R6B residential zone. Possible requests may include a site specific commercial overlay up-zoning to C4-3, C4-D, or less likely C8-4.
A variance is a discretionary action by the Board of Standards and Appeals which grants relief from the use and bulk provisions of the Zoning Resolution to the extent necessary to permit a reasonable or practical use of the land. A variance may be granted, after a public hearing, when unique conditions on a specific parcel of land would cause the property owner practical difficulty and undue hardship if it were developed pursuant to applicable provisions.
In this case, according to their own lawyer, The Grand Prospect Hotel developers would have a hard time proving "undue financial hardship" in order to get a variance. GPH is a thriving business.
Take a look for yourself at the pictures below and feel free to comment. I suggest you contact Mr. John Burns, the chair of Community Board #7s Land Use Committee directly with any questions or suggestions. Link to CB#7 email.
Public input is being welcomed at this point. You might actually play some small part in the way this turns out. Speak now or forever hold your peace.
One general impression is that some South Slopers are salivating over those 400 spaces. They would gladly live each day in the shadows if it meant there was a warm parking space awaiting their Volvos each night. My only wish is that Mr. Halkias and Doban Architecture understand that this new hotel building will essentially define our skyline forever.
Please don't make something shitty.
|Grand Prospect Hall & The sunken Prospect Expressway below|
|The proposed 11 story hotel/garage is on the left. Existing GPH building on the right.|
|Grand Prospect Hall's current parking lot. Visible at back of lot, one and two family homes along 16th Street.|
| Current 16th Streetscape: The two homes to be demolished are on the far right. Left stranded in between driveways will be this recently restored/remodeled white 2 story wood frame house. Corcoran sold this house, 192 16th St. in 2007 for $1.35 million. From this photo you can see that at 2pm the low January sun casts long shadows into the middle of the street. |
How far might the shadows extend from the 120' tall Hotel?
Post Script: I guess that when I wrote yesterday that the feelings expressed during the presentation were "mostly positive" I should have mentioned that there were a few people in attendance who voiced serious misgivings about the impact this new hotel will have on the already overburdened surrounding infrastructure. One individual in particular gave testament to how this section of the South Slope, 16th Street below 6th Avenue, is the ground zero for real property speculation. There are at least a dozen new buildings within a block's circumference. Hundreds of new units have or will soon be occupied straining an already taxed water, sewer, and electrical grid.
These new residents, with young children, generally more affluent then those before them, own automobiles. There is a perception by some that a serious shortage of available on-street parking spots exists now that did not exist a decade ago. This is the carrot that Mr. and Mrs. Halkias are holding out to our community in the hopes of garnering enough public support to get his zoning variance pushed through. They know the B.S.A. would never permit their project unless it had significant political muscle behind it. Here's one reason why the presentation was made... To judge the neighborhood's temperament. Otherwise they would have gone strait to the Board and made their appeal. Just a short five years ago, the South Slope had one of the fastest downzonings for any neighborhood in recent NYC history. The folks at The Grand Prospect understand the power the community wields and it seems neighborhood opposition to the proposed hotel/parking garage in it's current configuration is now mounting.
To be continued...