Silvercup West, the long-delayed mixed-use development next to the Queensboro Bridge, was brought before Community Board 2 on Sept. 17 to renew special permits and authorizations.
In 2006, when the project was going through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, Silvercup West was praised for providing waterfront public access, affordable housing and office space for the film and television industry — in honor of the project’s namesake, Silvercup Studios.
Within two years of CB 2 approval and City Council approval, the development was stalled for various reasons and has since remained in limbo.
Now with the special permits and authorizations about to expire, developers want to renew.
“It is important to know this project has already been approved, so your consideration should be based on the facts upon which the project was approved and whether or not those facts remain true,” Marcie Kesner, the attorney representing the Silvercup West developers, said.
The permits in question are for a Silvercup sign on the side of one of the new buildings; building setbacks, which would allow builders to pull back the height of the buildings from the proximity to the Queensboro Bridge; and 50,000 square feet of waterfront access on the East River. The special authorization would be for the construction of a 1,400-car parking garage.
Overall, board members seemed largely in favor of the plan, though the Wednesday night meeting was a public hearing.
Questions asked by members were clarifying ones to ensure the project would still provide affordable housing and build an adequate seawall.
“At the time, the community board asked for 10 percent of units to be set aside for affordable housing,” Kesner said. “The commitment that was made was for 15 percent of units in the two south towers or about 150 units will be built off-site as affordable housing and then it breaks down for low-income, etc. If the developers do not fill the north tower as an office tower, but instead build that as a residential tower, the equivalent of 20 percent of the units would be affordable.”
I like the "if/then" caveat. Stupid.