By Stuart Soffer
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About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildi... (More)
About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildings. This could have been a career option, but my interest in computers - unusual at the time - led me to the computer science program at the University of Wisconsin. A programming job on Page Mill Road brought me to Palo Alto after college. Since 1993 I consult on bridging law and technology, and serve as an expert witness in Intellectual Property litigation. We moved to Menlo Park's Linfield Oaks neighborhood in 1994. Neighborhood traffic issues motivated my initial volunteering as a Menlo Park Planning Commissioner, followed by a stint as a Chamber of Commerce board member and most recently a finance/audit committee member. I advocate community volunteering for meeting people, the neighborhoods, and understanding the myriad issues that somehow arise. As hobbies I collect contemporary art and vintage cameras. And? fly helicopters, which offer rare views of the nooks and crannies of the Bay Area. (Hide)
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So here's a tough one emanating from that grand transit-oriented, high-density housing platform called Manhattan Island. Extell Development proposes construction of a 33-story building on the far west side on Riverside Boulevard (not to be confused with Riverside Drive, home of Grant's Tomb). Of the total 274 units, lower floors will serve Below Market rate (BMR) rental units. Higher floors above the sixth floor will be sold as condos.
Here's the kicker: the rental units are accessed via the 'Poor Door' with separate elevators. The Condos have another entrance with separate elevators. See
, Extell's 40 Riverside to Include Poor Door for Renters
Many things I deal with boil down to semantics. In this instance the developer argues that since the portions are separated, they can be considered to be 'off-site'. Hence the zoning regulations require a separate entrance.
This building model exists already. There are many examples of hotel/condo combinations with separate entrances; there are condo/office models with separate entrances. Right here in Palo Alto, the mostly market rate 800 High Street is, I believe, connected via underground parking to the adjacent but detached above ground below rate 801 Alma.