The MOSCOT Move and Its Orchard Street Replacement
In papering the windows at 108 Orchard Street, contractors are essentially blocking view of what appears to be illegal gut demolition onsite. For the last month-and-change, the former Tenement Museum shop has been a disaster, with mounds of masonry and scattered debris. At last glance, there is no paperwork on file with the DOB for any such action.
There’s more to the story. Despite claims to the contrary, rumors of MOSCOT moving across the street to this smaller space are edging closer to truth. But wait! We now hear word that Joe’s Fabrics is packing up the gear for parts unknown, and that the legacy eyewear company will take the space. Makes sense. The ground level footprint of Joe’s has been gated for weeks with DIY signs directing customers to the stairs. Oh, and it’s also worth noting that the building is owned by controversial Lower East Side landlord Baruch Singer.
And then there’s the former home of MOSCOT itself – 118 Orchard and its sister at number 120. The story here is a bit more convoluted, but the end game is fairly apparent. New building. Public zoning documents reveal that the two parcels at the corner of Orchard Street were recently combined into one zoning lot. The owner granted the developer “permanent, irrevocable and perpetual easement for light and air over entire parcel.” Such rights were granted in perpetuity, and landowner further agrees not to oppose (i.e. Community Board 3 hearings, etc).
So basically, in layman terms, the developer can essentially build whatever it wants within the current zoning restrictions (12 stories on Delancey), and the landowner cannot appear in opposition. The legalese is intentionally ambiguous with regard to any new construction, though – “demolish or renovate the existing building and construct a new building all on the developer land.”