Community Board Land Use Committee rejects Hamilton-Holly House air rights transfer

Rendering of 3 St. Marks Place development.

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Community Board 3’s Land Use committee rejected an air rights transfer application from developers wanting to build a 10-story office building at 3 St. Marks Place.

In June, Real Estate Equities Corporation was given the green light by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission to buy $4 million worth of air rights from the landmarked building across the street, the Hamilton-Holly House, former home of Alexander and Holly Hamilton.

If REEC were to buy the air rights of Hamilton-Holly House, it would allow them to increase floor space by 20 percent, further expanding ‘Silicon Alleys’ borders, opponents said.

After approval from the commission, the developers formally entered the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process ( ULURP) the first step of which is community board vetting.

Although community board’s are advisory entities that can not actually stop a project from progressing, the vote reflects the communities contempt for the project. The vote against the transfer was unanimous. Many of those in opposition, including preservation group, did not agree with the public benefit that the REEC was offering with the transfer.

As part of the deal, $200,000 of the $4 million would go towards maintaining the landmark in perpetuity.

“The feeling was universal that it was not a worthwhile trade,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of Village preservation. The meeting hosted a healthy turnout from the preservationist group, Berman said.

Community Board 3 will hold its full-board meeting on Dec. 19. After the full-board votes on the air rights transfer, the resolution will be sent to be sent for consideration by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.