Hamilton Heights developer drops rezoning



It’s unclear which projects – if any – will advance at the corner of West 142nd Street and Riverside Drive (Manhattan Community Board 9, Google Maps)

A Hamilton Heights developer has dropped his controversial proposal to zoning a building with historic townhouses.

Soma 142 LLC on Thursday withdrew its proposed rezoning of the site at the corner of West 142nd Street and Riverside Drive. The proposal was in the final stages of the ULURP process and a city council committee was due to review it on Friday, according to the Patch.

A 170-foot building was proposed for the corner, where there is a vacant lot and three empty townhouses, which should have been razed for the development. But the 17-story building has met resistance from the community, some of whom have alleged that the developers intimidated residents into forcing them to leave their homes.

City Council member Mark Levine took credit for the pullout, telling voters Soma had abandoned rezoning after clearly voicing his opposition. Community council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also opposed the development.

“The demolition of three century-old townhouses on 142nd Street, as proposed in this project, would deal a serious blow to the historic fabric of our neighborhood,” Levine said in an email to the community.

Soma said the project would add 61 units to market price and 20 affordable apartments in the neighborhood, but that would not have been enough to appease the community. Less than a decade ago, West Harlem was dezoned to prevent overzoning in the community, not helping the developer.

It is not known how Soma will progress after his withdrawal. The developer has previously expressed plans to launch a project on the block regardless of the fate of its rezoning.

In the spring, Soma reportedly revealed a different plan in case the zoning was not approved. The other solution would still be to demolish the century-old townhouses, but also to build a six-story, 23-unit building instead of the proposed 170-foot building.

[Patch] – Holden Walter Warner


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