Mixed-use building seeks to add two new elevators to lower Manhattan subway station. On March 14, 2018, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing for a special permit for a proposed new mixed-use development at 45 Broad Street in the Financial District in Manhattan in connection with improvements to the Broad Street Station and the Wall Street Station. Applicants, Madison 45 Broad Development LLC, plan to build a 65-story condominium building in what is currently an empty lot on the east side of Broad Street between Exchange Place and Beaver Street. The building will become the highest condo in Downtown Manhattan.
Applicants, seek a special permit to allow a floor area bonus not to exceed 20 percent of the basic maximum floor area ratio to build two new subway elevators to the Broad Street J/Z station.
The new building is adjacent to the Broad Street Station. In 2015, the applicant approached the MTA/New York City Transit to identify bonus eligible improvements for the stations. They identified a need for elevators to provide ADA accessibility. Representatives for the applicants referred to a New York Times article that stated that about 23% of the New York City subway stations are ADA accessible compared to San Francisco, Atlanta, LA, and Miami, which are 100% accessible. Presently, the Fulton Street station is the nearest elevator accessible station and around a ten-minute walk to 45 Broad Street.
Applicants addressed concerns raised by the community during Manhattan Community Board 1’s meeting regarding the potential for the elevators to invite a terrorist attack. A special report had been supplied to the Community Board that advanced such concerns. The Board consulted with the NYPD counterterrorism division who did not support the conclusions of that report. The applicants also commissioned and supplied to CPC a special report from a private security firm dispelling terrorism concerns due to the elevators.
The commissioners heard testimony from several community leaders who spoke about the benefits of having elevator access in the area. Christopher D. Price, a member of the New York City Transit Riders Council, advocated in support of the elevators which will help seniors and disabled people access areas of lower Manhattan like the reduced-fare offices on Stone Street.
Edith Prentiss, President of Disabled in Action in Metropolitan New York and a disabled individual, also spoke in support and shared her own experience getting around the City through the subways. Prentiss stated that she looks forward to her fantasies for when there is a fully accessible subway system. She called the lower Manhattan a “transportation dessert” for individuals with disabilities because, if a single elevator at Fulton Street is out of service, access in and out of the station may become impossible for those who require elevator access.
Applicants believe the elevators will be a major improvement to the area and bring accessibility to many individuals who work and visit the area.