NEW YORK CITY-In a 10 to 1 vote, the New York City Planning Commission approved the rezoning of the Hudson Yards. Commission chair Amanda Burden called the effort “the most ambitious undertaking since the grid of 1811″ which laid out all of the city’s streets. “This is a visionary blueprint.”

The 40-year redevelopment involves the 59-block area from West 30th Street to West 43rd Street, and Seventh and Eighth avenues to 12th Avenue. It is bordered by Clinton to the north, Chelsea to the south, the Hudson River to the west and the Garment Center and Midtown to the east.

The approved plan includes a two-million-sf reduction in commercial development bringing it to a total of 26 million sf. It also includes an increase in residential development and an expanded affordable housing program to produce or preserve approximately 2,600 affordable housing units with a total of 13,600 new units.

Commissioner Karen Phillips was the sole dissenter. While she is in favor of an updated Javits Center, the expansion of the No. 7 subway line and the city’s effort to host the Olympic Games in 2012, she is not in favor of the New York City Sports and Convention Center, a possible home base for the New York Jets football team. “It’s an invasive location for a stadium…for 12 men to chase a pigskin.”

After Phillips cast her vote, a group affordable housing advocates displayed signs protesting the stadium and the rezoning effort. Earlier this month, the Departments of City Planning and Housing Preservation & Development unveiled a revision designed to provide increased affordable housing in this West Side development area. It puts in place a larger incentive for developers to create affordable housing by lowering “as-of-right” density and in exchange requiring a greater share of affordable units. It also extended the Inclusionary Zoning Program to include the neighboring Hell’s Kitchen community.

“When combined with the New York Sports and Convention Center, an expanded Javits Center and the extended No. 7 subway line, the plan for the Hudson Yards offers one of the most compelling visions of urban renewal ever put forward in New York City,” the Hudson Yards Coalition offers. The coalition is an economic development advocacy initiative that is comprised of members from New York’s business, labor, civic, academic and cultural communities.

Earlier this year, the city created the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp., a nonprofit group that will help in the financing of the massive West Side project. City estimates peg the total costs of the infrastructure to be financed between 2005 and 2012 to be $2.8 billion and a continued build-out is expected to follow through 2040.

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