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NEW YORK CITY-The community board that oversees development in Lower Manhattan is up in arms over the Edward J. Minskoff Equities Inc. office tower proposed for the northwest corner of Greenwich and Murray streets. The organization is holding a special meeting next week to garner support for its opposition to the Tribeca project, which it says is all wrong for the neighborhood.

Community Board One district manager Paul Goldstein says 270 Greenwich St. is too tall, too big, and not the best use of the long-vacant parcel bounded by Greenwich, Warren, Murray and West streets. “The size and scope of the building is way out of scale with what’s appropriate for that community,” Goldstein tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s in a predominantly residential neighborhood, directly across from a three-story elementary school (PS 234) and a block away from a park that we fear would be enshadowed.”

Minskoff’s plan is a city-sanctioned project awarded to the developer through a New York City Economic Development Corp. RFP designation. (Whether the city will retain ownership of the land or sell it to Minskoff remains unclear.) The one million-sf Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP design is 597 feet tall with 38 above-ground floors and is scheduled for delivery in 2004.

To be built on an L-shaped lot, the façade is primarily black granite and glass and plans for the property include 25,000 sf of ground-level retail space, a 100-car underground parking lot and a 30,000-sf plaza on the Greenwich Street side. If built, it would be the first Downtown office building to go up in more than a decade.

But it’s not just the scope of the project that has CB1′s hackles standing on end. The board feels that the parcel should be developed as residential rather than office space. “There’s a lot of sentiment that this site would be more appropriately developed as a residential site,” Goldstein says. “There’s a glut of commercial space in Lower Manhattan, in part because of Sept. 11. Seven World Trade Center is on the front burner, the whole WTC site will be developed and there’s an office vacancy rate of approximately 14% [Downtown]. It all adds up to the fact that residential development is more appropriate for these sites, which are in a predominantly residential neighborhood.”

Both Goldstein and EDC representatives say they are unsure if any zoning variances are required for the project, though Goldstein says it’s likely the developer will have few if any obstacles in that area. “The Zoning is a little up in the air but we think it may be ‘as of right.’”

Community board members have met with Minskoff executives without any apparent success. “We have had a meeting with the Minskoff representatives and we think we know where they stand on this and they know where we stand,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “There is likely to be strong opposition to this development and the developer should be aware of that before they move ahead or attempt to move ahead.”

Previously scuttled proposals for the property include a New York Mercantile Exchange building, New York Board of Trade headquarters and a Burnham Lambert headquarters building.

Phone calls to the EDC and Minskoff were not returned by press time.

Community Board 1 will meet to discuss the project Thursday, June 20 at 5:30pm in the auditorium of P.S. 234 and Greenwich and Chambers Streets.

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