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KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL

LLP

MICHAELT.SILLKRMAN
PARTNER
PHONE 2127157838
FAX 2127157832
MSHJJIRMAN@KRAMERLEVlN.COM

September30,2016

ViaHandDelivery
Hon.CarlWeisbrod
Chair
CityPlanningCommission
120Broadway,31stFloor
NewYork,NY 10271
Re:

St.John'sCenter
550WashingtonStreet(ManhattanBlock596,Lot1)
ULURPNos.160309ZMM,160310ZSM,160311ZSM,
160312ZSM,160313ZSM,N160314ZAM,N160315ZAM,
N160316ZAM.N160317ZCM

DearChairWeisbrod:
On behalf of SJC 33 Owner 2015 LLC (the "Applicant"), we are writing to
express the Applicant's commitment to make certain design modifications to the 550
WashingtonStreet project,toaddress concernsraised bytheCommission duringitspriorreview
sessions. The design modifications are discussed below. Drawings that illustrate these
modificationsareincludedwiththisletter.
1. Retail
TheApplicantunderstandstheCommission'sdesiretopromoteactive
streetscapesandretailvarietyintheproject. Toaddressthisconcern,theApplicanthasagreed
thattheprojectwillprovideaminimumoffourretailestablishmentsatthegroundfloorlevelon
eachofthenorthandsouthsidesofWestHoustonStreetandthreeretailestablishmentsatthe
groundfloorlevelonClarksonStreet,atsuchtimeastheprojectsitesaredevelopedin
accordancewiththespecialpermits. Thesegroundfloorretailrestrictionswillbereflectedon
thefinalULURPdrawingsetfortheproject. Inaddition,theApplicanthasagreedthatthe"big
boxalternative"studiedintheDraftEnvironmentalImpactStudywillnot bepursued,andis
discussingappropriatebelowgraderetaillimitationswithDepartmentstaff.
1177AVENUEOI<THEAMERICAS NEWYORK NY100362714 PHONE212.715.9100 FAX212.715.8000
990MARSHROAD MENI.OPARKCA 940251949 PHONE650.752.1700 FAX650.752.1800
47AVENUE HOCHE 75008PARISFRANCE PHONE(331)44094600 FAX(331)44094601
WWW.KRAMBRLEVIN.COM
KL33095263.7

KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL

LLP

Hon.CarlWeisbrod
September30,2016
Page2

2. WestHoustonStreetElevatedOpenSpace
The Community Board and Borough President previously raised concerns about
theelevated openspace onthe former rail beds aboveWest HoustonStreet. TheCommission
has also raised concerns about this open space, specifically with regard to its impact on the
pedestrian experience on the sidewalks below. To address these concerns, the Applicant will
agreeto removethe formerrail bedsentirely, andto eliminatetheelevated openspacefrom the
project. Removingtherail beds isexpected to alleviate theconcern aboutinsufficient lighting
and activation along West Houston Street, and accordingly, the design requirements related to
lightingwill no longer benecessary whenthe rail bedsare removed. Whilethe openspace on
therail bedswill beremoved, additionalopenareaswill beprovided within theproject atgrade
level, including within the throughblock passageway, at such time as the Center Site is
developed inaccordance withthe specialpermits. Providingopen spaceat gradelevel wasone
of the recommendations of the Community Board and Borough President. The Applicant has
previouslyagreedtomakedesign modificationstothethroughblock passagewayincludingby
introducingseating and plantingsthatwill makethe areaattractiveforpassive recreation,and
the Applicant will work with Department staff to identify additional open space that can be
providedatgrade.
3. RecreationSpace
AspartialmitigationfortheactiveopenspaceimpactidentifiedintheDEIS,the
Applicantispreparedtoprovideanindoorrecreationspaceofapproximately10,000gross
squarefeetwithintheproject. ThisspacewillbelocatedontheCenterSite,eitheratgradeor
belowgrade,andwillbedelivered ifandwhentheCenterSitebuildingsareconstructed. The
spacewillincludethefollowingelements:
Thespacewillbefittedoutforrecreation uses,andwillbesuitablefor
activitiessuchasvariousballsports,martialarts,orfitnessclasses. Itwill
alsoincludesupportspace,includingbathroomsandstorage.
Thespacewillbesharedbetweenthepublicandtheresidentsofthebuilding.
Thespacewillbeavailabletothepublicfor50%ofitsoperatinghours.
TheApplicantwillengageathirdpartycommunitypartnertohandlethe
management,scheduling,andprogrammingofthespace. Thisorganization
willadvertisethespaceanddevelopaprogramofcommunityuse,and will
staffandmanagethespaceduringthehoursofcommunityuse.
TheApplicantwillhavetheabilitytochargefeesforuseofthespaceto
coveroverheadandmaintenance,andwillapplystandardcontractual

KL33095263.7

KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL

LLP

Hon.CarlWeisbrod
September30,2016
Page3

arrangementsforusers,relatedtosecurity,insurance,liability,and
responsibilityforcleaningthespace.
Plansshowingillustrativelocationsofthespacebothagroundflooranda
cellarlevelalternativeareattachedtothisletter. Thefinallocationofthespaceisstillunder
review.
4. ThroughBlockDrivewayImprovements
The design of the throughblock driveway between the Center and South Sites
will be modified to be made more pedestrianfriendly, at such time as the project sites are
developedinaccordancewiththespecialpermits. Themodificationsincludethefollowing:

Theseparatedvehicledropoffareaandisland infrontoftheSouthSite
commercialbuildingwill beeliminated,andinsteadalaybylaneforvehicledropoffswillbe
providedinfrontoftheSouthSitebuilding. Thismodificationwillalsoincreasethesidewalk
areaprovidedinfrontoftheSouthSitebuilding.

ThepedestrianareainfrontoftheSouthSitebuildingwillincludeno
fewerthaneightmoveabletablesand32moveablechairs.

Eightbacklessbencheswill belocatedoneachofthenorthandsouth
sidesofthedriveway.

Treesandplantingswillbeprovided,separatingtheroadbedfromthe

sidewalk.

Theroadbedandsidewalkwillhavedistinct,butsimilar,pavingpatterns
tocreatevisualseparation,andwithtrafficcalmingpaversintheroadbed.

Aminimumof50%ofthegroundfloorbuildingfacadesfacingthe
throughblockdrivewaywillbeoccupiedbytransparent glazingmaterials.

Thedrivewaywillbeopentothepublicforpedestrianpassagefromdawn

todusk.
Arevisedplanforthethroughblockdrivewayisincludedwiththisletter.

KL33095263.7

KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL

LLP

Hon.CarlWeisbrod
September30,2016
Page4

5. WestHoustonStreetImprovements
TomaketheWestHoustonStreet streetscapepedestrianfriendly,theApplicant
hasagreedtocertaindesignguidelinesfortheprojectonceitisdevelopedinaccordancewiththe
specialpermits,asstatedbelow.

Excludingresidentiallobbies,theentireWestHoustonStreetfrontagewill
beoccupiedbyretailusesatthegroundfloorlevel.

AllretailusesalongWest HoustonStreetwillhaveaminimumdepthof

30feet.

BuildinglobbiesonWestHoustonStreet willbelimitedtonomorethan
25feetinwidthperlobby.

Asnotedabove,thenorthandsouthfrontagesofWestHoustonStreetwill
containnofewerthanfourretail establishmentsatthegroundfloorlevel.

Streetwalltransparencyonthegroundflooralong WestHoustonStreet
willbeincreased from50%,whichisalreadyrequiredonallotherfacadesofthebuildings,toa
minimumof70%atthegroundfloor,onboththenorthandsouthsidesofthestreet.

Nontransparentportionsofthefa?adewill belimitedtocontiguous
lengthsofnomorethan10feetbetweeneachareaoftransparency.

Tenantstorefrontguidelineswillrequireaminimumamountofglazing
andinteriorlighting. Theseguidelineswillalsoincludeaprohibitionfromobscuringmorethan
25%ofthetotalstorefronttransparencybetweenthewindowandadepthofapproximatelytwo
feetfromthewindow,andminimuminteriorlightinglevels.
6. ProjectDesignRequirements
TheApplicanthasagreedtospecificdesignguidelinesfortheproposedbuildings,
preparedbyCookFoxArchitects,once thebuildingsaredevelopedinaccordancewiththe
specialpermits. Thedesignguidelinesincludethefollowing:

KL33095263.7

theuseofmasonryinthefacades,withcertainlimitationsontheuseof
metalandglass;

windowtypeguidelines,withnoreflectiveglass;

windowandstorefrontrecessrequirements,tocreateadynamicfa?ade;
and

KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL

LLP

Hon.CarlWeisbrod
September30,2016
Page5

sustainabilityrequirements,includingthatatleast30%ofallhorizontal
surfaceswillbeplanted.

Thesedesignguidelineswillbeaddedtothedesignguidelinesalreadyincluded
onthedrawings,whichinclude:

maximumbuildingheight,towerdimensions,andmaximumand
minimumstreetwallheights;

maximumstreetwalldepth;

minimumstreetwalltransparency;

aguidelinethatbulkheadsbefinishedinthesamematerialsasthetopsof
thebuildingsbelow;and

minimumsidewalkwidths.

Asdescribedabove,theApplicanthasmadematerialandsignificantadjustments
totheproject,whichwillbe providedatsuchtimeasthesitesaredevelopedinaccordancewith
thespecialpermits. Eachoftheproject'selements,asnotedinourprior letters,arecriticaltothe
project'ssuccessandeconomicviability. Furthermaterialchangestothe projectmayjeopardize
itsfeasibilityand,ultimately,itsabilitytoprovidethesignificantpublicbenefitsit offers:
notably,a$100millioncashinfusiontotheHudsonRiverParktosavePier40(anamount that
exceedstheappraisedvalueofthedevelopmentrightstobetransferred)andupto328,700
squarefeetofpermanentlyaffordablehousing. WethanktheCommissionforaproductive
dialogueonthisimportantproject.
Thankyouagainforyourconsideration.

Verytrulyyours,

MichaelT.Sillerman

Enclosures

KL33095263.7

KRAMER LEVIN NAFTALIS & FRANKEL

Hon.CarlWeisbrod
September30,2016
Page6

cc:

Hon.CoreyJohnson
Hon.GaleBrewer
TobiBergman,ManhattanCommunityBoard2

KL33095263.7

LLP