By Jill Colvin DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
MIDTOWN — Members of Midtown’s Community Board 5 endorsed a plan to re-zone the blocks surrounding FIT Wednesday night, despite concerns the new rules would eat up existing commercial and office space in the zone.
The Department of City Planning is hoping to spur development on the blocks south of Penn Station, which was once known as Manhattan’s “Fur District.” Today, the former manufacturing hub is home to a few remaining fur wholesalers, a smattering of small warehouses, and numerous parking lots, with little street life after hours.
The new “M1-6D” zoning designation, which would span West 28th, 29th and 30th streets between Seventh and Eighth avenues, would loosen regulations for new residential units to create what they hope will become “a more robust mixed-use, ’24/7′ community,” with more restaurants, services and retail, planners said.
The move in being spearheaded by Edison Properties, which wants to build a new 400-unit development between West 28th and West 29th on an existing parking lot. Twenty percent of the space would be reserved for affordable housing.
But members of Community Board 5’s Land Use and Zoning committee, which met to consider the plan Wednesday night, had serious reservations about the proposal, which was first presented to members at their meeting last month.