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Planning Commission Holds Hearing On Chelsea Market Zoning

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The City Planning Commission held a public hearing Wednesday on the proposal to rezone Chelsea Market, where those on both sides of the debate pressed their case with city officials. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

Chelsea Market is booming. There’s a bustling food concourse downstairs and companies including NY1 housed upstairs.

But the building’s owner believes there’s room for growth and is planning new office towers atop both the Ninth and 10th Avenue ends of the building.

The plan is sparking outrage from local residents and preservationists.

“The proposed plan for Chelsea Market would do enormous damage to our community,” said one person.

At a public hearing Wednesday, dozens of critics urged the City Planning Commission to block the proposal. The local community board is against the project unless it’s coupled with community improvements like affordable housing.

The developer, Jamestown Properties, said it will provide improvements to the High Line and has already scaled back the project, including scrapping a planned hotel. It’s also promised to maintain the food uses downstairs and touts the economic benefit.

“The expansion creates a much-needed space for expanding the technology and media companies that are widely viewed as the next great economic opportunity for the city,” said Michael Phillips, the chief operating officer of Jamestown Properties.

Many also testified in favor of the project Wednesday, including unions who see job growth.

“This includes many building service jobs that pay good wages and health benefits and retirement benefits,” said Kyle Bragg, speaking on behalf of SEIU Local 32BJ.

Those behind the High Line also back the project, though there’s concern about the loss of light and sightlines.

“It’s less about whether it matches the building across the street," said Amanda Burden, the chair of the City Planning Commission. "It’s about how much sky you’re taking away.”

The plan now goes to a vote by the planning commission. That’s likely to take place next month. Then it’s on to the City Council, the final approval needed before the project can move forward.

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