The Port Authority has been struggling for years to develop two awkward lots next to the Lincoln Tunnel approach on the far West Side. The agency filed plans for a nine-story building at 431 West 33rd Street last fall, and now they’ve posted a rendering on the fence at the site between Ninth and 10th Avenues.
The project got construction permits in November, but it still lacks one critical component: a developer. And the Port Authority made it clear last fall that they aren’t developing the site themselves. Since the development is “still an open procurement” in agency jargon, a spokesman couldn’t give us any more information on it. The site, which overlooks a depressed section of Dyer Avenue, has remained in limbo for nearly two years.
But we do know what’s on the permits. The SLCE-designed building will have 24 apartments spread across 42,649 square feet of residential space. A 5,400-square-foot retail space will fill the ground floor, followed by three apartments on each of the upper floors. A few units will get private terraces.
In July of 2014, Dermot Company agreed to pay the agency $115 million in order to put up a 550,000-square-foot tower on both sides of the tunnel approach. It could also have shelled out $60 million more for 85,000 square feet of additional air rights. The high rise would have involved decking across or cantilevering over the busy, below-grade road. The work would have been tricky, expensive, and time-consuming, and the authority would have overseen that part of the construction.
The deal fell through six months later, and the agency put both sites back on the market. The new request for proposals comes with a host of rules and forbids any zoning changes, unless it involves buying extra floor area with the aim of including affordable housing. It also requires the future developer to build a public, landscaped passageway through the block between 33rd and 34th streets.