BY: STEPHEN SMITH ON DECEMBER 8TH 2014 AT 6:00 AM
Over the week, a new building permit application was filed by Nobutaka Ashihara Architect for a 22-story hotel at 4 West 37th Street, on the edge of the Garment District.
The building, around 50,000 square feet, will have either 120 or 135 rooms (the permit application is a bit confused), and will rise 210 feet into the air.
The architect is Nobutaka Ashihara, suggesting that the design will be a step above the Peter Poon- and Gene Kaufman-designed buildings that have sprouted like weeds in the Garment District over the past decade or so. Ashihara is also responsible for 1717 Broadway, the tallest hotel in the city at 715 feet to the roof, with two separate Marriott flags.
The permit application of 4 West 37th Street was filed by ABI Construction, apparently on behalf of State Bank of Texas CEO Chan Patel and his sons, Sushil and Rajan, who are developing the hotel. They bought the site, spanning 4-6 West 37th Street, earlier this year for $20 million. It is currently home to a pair of six-story loft buildings, likely not long for this world.
Zoning in most of the Garment District doesn’t allow for any residential development, which may have otherwise been the site’s highest and best use. YIMBY would like to see these lots and the rest of the Garment District rezoned from the current dominant M1-6 designation to M1-6D. Invented for a small area of less than two blocks in Chelsea, M1-6D zoning allows new housing to be built in a formerly commercial and industrial area, so long as it does not displace those uses. It would give the developer more freedom to build much needed housing, without eating away at the neighborhood’s commercial square footage.
(That said, the M1-6D zoning probably ought to be tweaked in one way – the current designation forces all hotels with more than 100 rooms to get discretionary City Council approval, which essentially forbids non-union operators, likely what’s planned for this site.)