255 East Houston on the Open Market
255 East Houston is again in the local news. Crain’s published an article yesterday revealing that the destabilized tenement which once housed the Action for Progress school is now on the open market; bids are due today. Owner Samy Mahfar is selling the L-shaped parcel, which also fronts Suffolk Street but does not include the long-stalled corner lot. Pundits estimate that the land could fetch between $250 and $300 per square-foot depending on the type of use (rental or condo).
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As previously reported, the developer can currently build a 5.4 FAR project, but with inclusionary affordable housing bonus, could reach 7.2 FAR. Or, in layman’s terms, a maximum height of twelve stories, which equates to double the height of the surrounding buildings. Earlier this month, the owners sought an amended zoning overlay for this stretch of real estate with the obvious goal of including commercial business (i.e. nightlife) on the ground level. That proposal was tabled by CB3 until further notice.
And then there’s this:
Jonathan Miller, CEO of real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel, notes that the area has not yet become a mature neighborhood for condos. He adds that lenders are becoming increasingly skittish about construction loans for condos, and are much more willing to make loans for rentals.
Either way, it looks like some investors will have their golden opportunity to “clean up that section of East Houston” and carry the torch of gentrification ever eastward. It’s also worth noting that Samy Mahfar sits on the board of the Lower East Side BID.