Air Quality and Wind Tunnel Analysis for Midtown Redevelopment

Durst West 57th Street


Durst West 57th Street


New York, NY


Durst Organization, Inc.

AKRF prepared environmental studies for the proposed redevelopment of the block bounded by Eleventh Avenue, West 57th Street, Twelfth Avenue, and West 58th Street in New York City. AKRF completed a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) to analyze the development of a mixed-use building containing residential, office, retail, and community facility space on the site.

Key issues for the environmental analysis included air quality, public schools, and hazardous materials, as the project was participating in New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program.

For air quality, the primary issues were stationary source impacts associated with the project and due to existing sources of emissions nearby. The air quality modeling analysis determined that the highest predicted concentrations from the project’s fossil fuel-fired heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems would not exceed applicable air quality standards and criteria. To ensure that there are no significant adverse impacts from the project’s HVAC emissions, certain restrictions were required regarding fuel type, control of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and exhaust stack location and/or height.

The project would result in the development of new residential and commercial uses in close proximity to the Con Edison Power House, a steam plant that operates dual fuel-fired boilers and a combustion turbine used for peaking power. Concentrations of pollutants from the Con Edison plant were estimated for their potential impacts on the project, using a combination of computer-based and wind tunnel analysis. The analyses demonstrated that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and fine particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) from the plant’s emission sources on the project would not result in any violations of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for these pollutants. It was likewise determined that incremental increases in concentrations of fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) from the Con Edison boiler stack would not result in a significant adverse impact using the city’s guidance criteria for PM2.5.

The wind tunnel analysis of the project that was performed for the SEIS included existing buildings and proposed development within the study area. The results determined that the Con Edison Power House would not cause incremental increases in PM2.5 concentrations at project buildings that would exceed the city’s guidance criteria.

Existing and proposed developments near the project site were evaluated to assess whether the effect on plume dispersion from the Con Edison Power House combustion turbine and boiler emissions due to the project would result in any significant adverse air quality impact. AKRF directed a wind tunnel analysis to examine building configurations that would avoid significant adverse air quality impacts on a nearby planned residential tower, Riverside Center Building 5. The analysis demonstrated that the effect on plume dispersion from the Con Edison Power House due to the project would not result in any significant adverse air quality impacts on Riverside Center Building 5 for any of the evaluated building designs.

The SEIS was an update to a 2001 EIS that examined the environmental effects of a rezoning to facilitate the development of commercial office towers along Twelfth Avenue, light manufacturing uses in the midblock, and residential uses along Eleventh Avenue.

Air Quality Overview