NY City Council To Vote On Rezoning To Allow Commercial Uses On Governors Island

24/07/2013 12:50 pm

On Wednesday, the New York City Council is set to vote on a rezoning that for the first time would allow commercial use of more than 1 million square feet of space in a collection of historic buildings on Governors Island.

The commercial zoning change is a crucial part of Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to develop the island into a premiere attraction and draw enough visitors--not to mention revenue--to make it self-sufficient financially. So far, the city has committed about $260 million to develop park space and infrastructure on the 170-acre island, which sits off the southern tip of Manhattan.

 The rezoning would allow the Trust for Governors Island, the non-profit, government-controlled group that oversees the island, to move forward with the responses it garnered last year to a request for proposals from private sector and nonprofit groups interested in adaptively reusing 40 historic buildings that collectively total about 1.2 million square feet.
"The rezoning of Governors Island for commercial use is an important step in realizing the potential of the island and hopefully making it self sufficient financially in the future," said Matthew Viggiano, the director of land use and planning for Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who is one of the key council members evaluating the rezoning.
Crains reports that, the Council has asked the Trust for Governors Island for a number of concessions in return for approving the rezoning. Those include the introduction of more fuel efficient ferries servicing the island and also assurances that union labor would be used on construction projects on the island. Council members have also asked that any hotel on the island be required to allow its staff to be unionized. It wasn't immediately clear whether the union requirements, which could potentially drive up construction and labor costs on the island, would impact interest from those who responded to the request for proposals.
The proposal involves two applications:
  • Application No. N 130189(A) ZRM submitted by the Trust for an amendment to the Zoning Resolution, establishing the Special Governors Island District
  • Application No. C 130190 ZMM submitted by the Trust for an amendment fo the Zoning Map by establishing a Special Governors ISland District (GI)

The proposal is on the agenda for the Committee on Land Use today at 11:00AM.