Washington Heights Towers Would Add 500+ Parking Spots on Top of 1 Train

Since January, Upper Manhattan has been abuzz with news of a proposed development that could bring four new residential towers to Washington Heights. And according to developers Quadriad Realty Partners, there’ll be ample parking to go along with them.

A new skyscraper development in Washington Heights could put up to 550 parking spots next to the 191 St. 1 train station at Broadway, marked by the red circle. Image: Quadriad

The Quadriad buildings, which would be constructed on both sides of Broadway at 190th Street, would stand in stark contrast to the neighborhood’s stock of low-rises. As reported in the Manhattan Times, there are two plans on the table. One would mean the construction of two towers for market rate housing, each more than 20 stories tall, on either side of Broadway, which Quadriad says could be built without rezonings or special permits.

The company’s preferred option, dubbed the “New Strategy” plan, is to erect four buildings of 23, 33, 39 and 42 stories. The company says the project’s 650 or so housing units would be a combination of market rate sales or rentals and affordable housing (as defined by the city, which would still put the units beyond the reach of most Upper Manhattanites). The company would need city approval for its preferred plan.

Until recently, not much was known about the parking component of the proposal. Quadriad Chief Operating Officer Charles Lauster told Streetsblog in February that the company wanted “to get more input from the community before we get specific about the parking issues.” At a Wednesday night meeting of the Community Board 12 committee on land use, some of those specifics were revealed. Local resident and DNAinfo reporter Carla Zanoni was there:

Henry Wollman [Quadriad president and CEO] said the “New Strategy” plan (the one that includes the 42-story building) would include parking for approximately 500-550 cars and that they are currently looking into different garage systems to accommodate that type of load.

He also said that they were looking to create that amount of parking in response to community interviews they’ve held in which residents said “parking is a big problem in the neighborhood.”

Despite the fact that only around 25 percent of households in Upper Manhattan own cars, and that the area is served by a number of buses and two subway lines — the “New Strategy” plan would include partial renovation of the 191st St. 1 train station at Broadway — Quadriad will probably get no argument from CB 12 that its district suffers from a lack of parking. It’s more likely that the promise of an 85 percent parking spot to apartment ratio won’t be enough to satisfy the folks who killed a neighborhood Greenmarket to preserve unfettered access to 19 curbside spaces.

Assuming Quadriad and CB 12 come to terms, and if the project gets the all-clear from the City Planning Commission and City Council, residents of Washington Heights and Inwood — pedestrians and drivers alike — may find themselves wanting a new strategy to deal with the traffic generated by those 500+ parking spots.

With reporting from Noah Kazis.

  • Charles_Siegel

    “stark contrast to the neighborhood’s stock of low-rises.”

    In most places, that would be considered the neighborhood’s stork of mid-rises. In fact, I know many NIMBYs who would call them high-rises.

  • Jeff

    “Parking is a big problem in the neighborhood.”

    Ice cream is a big problem in my neighborhood. We don’t have an unlimited supply of free ice cream.

  • From the perspective of drivers in Washington Heights, problem isn’t lack of parking, it’s lack of FREE parking. Adding 500 garage spots isn’t going address that “issue.” My suspicion is that the garage will have a hard time renting its spots and people will still complain that “parking is a big problem in the neighborhood.”

  • Stephen Smith

    Are they adding the parking because they think the development will be more attractive with it? Or are they doing it to proactively the community/zoning board? (The third option is that they’re doing it to adhere to parking minimums, and while I do believe that Washington Heights has parking mins, I don’t think it’s quite 85%.)

  • Suzanne

    From what I’ve seen of it Washington Heights is a car dominated armpit already. I wish someone would just scoop it up and stick it in the suburbs where it belongs. It makes me sad that a beautiful museum like the Cloisters is stuck there.

  • Wow, Suzanne, thanks for the kind words about my neighborhood! I’ll be sure to say disparaging, unverified comments about your area once you let me know where it is you live. We residents of Washington Heights love our parks and museums, including the Cloisters, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, Inwood Hill Park, High Bridge Park, the High Bridge itself, Fort Tryon Park, and Fort Washington Park (just to start). If you would like to go on a tour of our high points (including the highest point in Manhattan, in Bennett Park) let me know.

  • HamTech87

    The build-out of more parking spaces needs to be included in the analysis of increasing car-ownership in certain city districts. More parking brings more cars, but as has been demonstrated many times, that parking costs the taxpayers money.

  • HamTech87

    This could be like the Gateway Center in the Bronx. Acres of parking with nobody in it. Meanwhile, those parking spaces could be turned into affordable and moderately-priced apartments. What do we need more of? Parking or affordable housing?

  • I shouldn’t be mean as it generally backfires and makes me look stupid. I’ve been to Wash Hi, like, 3 times and every time I went I was horrified by the vast expanses of asphalt, speeding cars and large, blank, pedestrian unfriendly buildings (the Bronx also strikes me as a part of NYC completely blighted by car domination as well, so maybe it spilled over into Northern Manhattan.

    My apologies! In my defense I’d totally support any complete streets initiatives that would make the area more conducive to people, and not just the ones in cars.

  • Bike Upper Manhattan is working hard on complete-streets initiatives in Washington Heights and Inwood. Browse our website at http://www.bikeup.org for details. We welcome your support.

  • Anonymous

    It’s an R7-2 with a C2-2 overlay; I’ll take a look and see what that entails.

  • I will check it out. And I will refrain from dumping on Washington Heights anymore 🙂

  • R7-2 requires a minimum of one space for 50% of all units, so as of right they are only required to build 325 spots, plus any that might be required for the commercial spaces, which means less than 400 total. Definitely not 500-550.

    The developer is clearly offering to build those extra 100-200 spaces to get the community board to go along with the “New Strategy.” It would be much better for the street if they built as of right.

  • Pedestrians on Fairview Avenue, who now look at an empty surface parking lot through a chain-link fence, would get treated to the wall of the garage.

  • Ananguest

    I like the idea of the multiple “skyscrapers” because it would only provide more units to people in need of housing in an already dense community ready for something taller than a 6 story tenement. The problem is the parking. This is Washington Heights we are talking about, you can walk to the subway. In this case you are right over it.

  • C_line

    I like how you bring up the point about traffic problems and the fact that 3/4s of the households in the community do not even own cars 

  • Ansisvallens

    What’s not to like? More housing stock without huge government subsidies. Supply and demand at work. The business about tall buildings being out of place is nonsense for anyone with a pair of eyes. Look north 3 blocks and you’ll see two 24-story buildings. Look south and you’ll see four 25-story buildings. Tall buildings in Manhattan? Jeez! Middle-class housing stock near mass transportation? How is that a negative? Gentrification? It’s OK on the lower east side, OK in Williamsburg, OK in the south Bronx, but not OK in Washington Heights? For people in Ft. Tryon, who own their apartments, (and pay taxes btw) this will be great for their property values. Let’s not forget the jobs — building and maintaining. How about the jolt in the arm to local businesses? Middle-class families will demand better schools than what we have now. By any honest assessment, the pros far outweigh the cons.

  • FenryHoleman

    There are three roads that cross between all of Manhattan and Inwood. Two of them are highways (Henry Hudson & Harlem River). That leaves just Broadway, in this stretch of the Heights, as the only main street road.

    The geographical barriers force the major avenues all to dead end at either Ft. George Hill or at Ft. Tryon Park: 

    *Fort Washington 
    *St. Nick 
    *Seaman 
    *Nagle 
    *Sherman 
    *Wadsworth 
    *Amsterdam 
    *Audubon 

    If you’re heading North you’ve got to use Broadway to drive/bike in most cases, if traveling locally. And if you’re heading South you’ve got you use Broadway to drive/bike when traveling locally.  

    This building (and garage) would be in the center of an already unmanageable traffic nightmare. The only pass through the two surrounding geographical barriers. This not only impacts civilian transportation, but impacts law enforcement and emergency vehicles. And that’s now. 

    Add to this existing clusterfuck the addition of hundreds of new people/apartments/parking spot owners and you’ve got the makings of an even more irreversible traffic jam during waking hours. 

    Additionally the entrance to the garage will be on Fairview Ave. Fairview is about as thin as an ice skate, for drivers, and as steep as a black diamond ski slope, for everyone. Not a street you want hundreds of cars pouring in and out of everyday. 

    Now, the parking issue is a real concern, but it is just one concern that is emblematic of the entire project. It shows how the developer’s approach hasn’t been to address the needs of the neighborhoods, but to instead address the desires of its investors. 

    Accepting any deal from Quadriad would be a mistake. If they want to build let them do it under the rules that exist now. If they own the land they can build as-of-right. Fine. The neighborhood may not like it, I sure as hell won’t, but at least we won’t be bending over and getting ass fucked by a developer that doesn’t even find this neighborhood attractive enough to ass fuck a few more times.

  • ShermanParking

    The location is an engineering nightmare with the 1 train stairs right below it.  Their numbers are wrong about the 25% car ownership, the number is much higher than that.  if they want to build a 42 story building do it at the old Packard Factory on Broadway and Sherman.  Also, why is the site where these buildings are going on the market again?

  • Nathan

    For all you New Yorkers who think that high-rises and low-rises are the only way to obtain a dense population, get over it. Paris has a higher density than NYC and has a paltry amount of high rises and even low rises. How do they do this? They got over the idea that cities are for cars. NYC is still riddles with parking lots and free or too cheap on-street parking, something you see to a much lesser extent in Paris and other European capitals. NYC is at least another 20 years away from that in kind of realization that encompasses all public institutions (including the suburbanite, city-hating police force, and yes I’m aware the city doesn’t pay cops enough to actually live in the city they’re policing).

  • Anonymous

    Criminy, the idea that Paris’s density has anything whatsoever to do with motor vehicles is ridiculous. Do you think Haussmann was working about parking?

    It ignores Paris’s very significant suburbs–which are full of high rises.

  • Morris Zapp

    What an eye-opener.

    Someone should start a blog or something to point out the downsides of New York car culture.

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