Last November, we showed how — to our amazement — the City’s own “Community Profile” of Community Board #2 categorized the Trump SoHo “Condo-Hotel” as a residential property. This would make it illegal under the zoning, because when built, the zoning in Hudson Square did not allow any sort of residential development.
We (and many others) protested vociferously against the City allowing the Trump SoHo to be built, based upon what to us was a clear violation of the zoning rules — that the Trump SoHo was, in fact, a residential use under New York City zoning, which was prohibited in this area.
But Speaker Quinn, Borough President Stringer, and the Bloomberg Administration all insisted that the development was NOT a residential use under the zoning, and therefore their hands were tied — they HAD to allow it to move ahead.
Now we find, in addition to the City’s “community profile,” that the City’s own “City Map,” their recently-launched, on-line resource for providing access to all the city’s data about every corner of the five boroughs, also categorizes the Trump SoHo as “residential.”
A screenshot of the map with the relevant information is above, but if you want to check yourself, we have a link to the map HERE. Once on the map, just click on the “i” icon on the top, which allows you to access detailed information about any site by clicking on it. Then go over to the Trump SoHo, the western half of the block bounded by Dominick and Spring Streets, Varick Street and Avenue of the Americas, and click. The same information bubble will pop up, telling you too that the Trump SoHo is, in fact, a residential development — in spite of many city officials’ insistence that it was not, and that it was legal.
You may be wondering if this is a moot point, given that the City just rezoned Hudson Square to now allow as-of-right residential development. The answer is no.
While new residential development is allowed under the new zoning, the rezoning does prohibit the conversion of commercial uses (which is what the City, Speaker Quinn, and Borough President Stringer insisted Trump SoHo was, and why it was allowed to be built) to residential unless you replace it with an equal amount of commercial use elsewhere in the Hudson Square zoning area (GVSHP consistently raised this issue during the rezoning process, insisting that it would be unacceptable if the rezoning allowed the Trump SoHo to get around the original zoning restrictions to legally become residential).
In other words, the only way Trump SoHo could, under the new zoning, legally become a “residential” use, is if they built or created an additional 300,000 square feet of commercial space (the size of the Trump SoHo) elsewhere in Hudson Square, to replace the amount of space they converted to residential use. This would be quite difficult if not impossible for them to do, and certainly is not something they have done.
So here again we have tangible evidence that, in spite of city officials’ insistence that the Trump SoHo was legal, and was NOT a residential use, it not only is, but the City’s own data acknowledges it. Of course we’re stuck with Trump’s 452 foot tall architectural obscenity; it remains to be seen what, if anything, the City will do now that they have been caught in their own lie.