Do these projects need to be as tall as planned? What about shorter buildings? Can we have zoning limiting the height of all new construction?
As noted above, there are a limited number of configurations that allow for the proposed buildings to use the permitted floor area in compliance with the underlying zoning. Various options were studied for each site, and while each had its own advantages and disadvantages, the proposed plans aim to balance building sizes that will allow for significant amounts of new affordable housing with project elements such as new publicly accessible open space, flood resiliency measures, neighborhood retail, improved community spaces and improved connectivity to the waterfront.
For example, a shorter building was studied in detail for 260 South Street. However, this would have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the light and air penetrating to the courtyard and exiting units in 265 & 275 Cherry Street, so two slender towers on a shared podium are being proposed instead. 247 Cherry Street and 259 Clinton Street have been similarly designed as tall, slender buildings as a means to maintain open spaces, light and air. Conversely, shorter, more squat buildings would be wider and would impede more view corridors.
Why are all three developers opting to build on or up against the buildings?
The three proposed projects are designed to be integrated into the sites while maintaining the maximum feasible open space. For example, the building proposed for 247 Cherry Street will share a ground floor lobby with the existing building at 80 Rutgers Slip, and will include a new community space for the residents of 80 Rutgers Slip. By tightly integrating the new and existing building, the footprint of the new building will be minimized and open space on the site will be preserved.