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City OKs Yale Music Hall Renovation

by | Jun 13, 2013 11:50 am

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Posted to: Arts & Culture, Music, Higher Ed

Two century-old Yale music buildings will be joined together and renovated, thanks to $25 million and new permission from city zoners.

The buildings are Leigh Hall and Hendrie Hall on the Yale campus at 435 College St. and 165 Elm St. respectively. The university Tuesday night secured zoning approval for a $25 million construction project at the two buildings, which are used by Yale’s School of Music.

Attorney Joseph Hammer made the pitch to the Board of Zoning Appeals at its monthly meeting in the Hall of Records.

Yale needs sundry zoning variances to make the project a reality, permitting smaller side yards, higher walls, and greater floor-to-area ratio and building coverage than otherwise allowed.

Architect Chris Couse told BZA members that the project will connect Hendrie and Leigh Halls with a corridor, and add to Hendrie Hall (pictured) on the north and West sides of the building, in the interior of the block.

He said the construction is “essential to meet programmatic needs.” The buildings will be more compliant with zoning and disability-accommodation requirements. Both buildings pre-date zoning codes.

The additions will include space for practice and storage for the Yale symphony orchestra as well as the Yale band and glee club. More than 200 New Haven public school students rehearse at Hendrie Hall each week, said Lauren Zucker, Yale’s director of New Haven affairs.

No one spoke in opposition to the project.

During the BZA’s voting session, member Ben Trachten said that the university had demonstrated the necessary hardship, given the that the building is already non-compliant.

“I agree,” said BZA chair Pat King. The shape and size of the properties also create a hardship, she said. The construction will be enclosed, without much impact on the street, she said. And the halls are a benefit to Yale and New Haven public school students, she said.

BZA members voted unanimously to approve the plan.

Zucker said the project will take about two years to complete, once the final site plan is approved by the city.

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posted by: anonymous on June 13, 2013  1:04pm

Good to see this project finally moving forward. What’s the long term plan for this block? Would be a great place for a small high rise housing tower for graduate students.

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