Rezoning Sought for East Houston Parcel; New Development Proposed

Posted on: December 6th, 2011 at 6:42 am by

It’s like buzzards over a dead carcass at 255 East Houston, waiting to dive in for the prize. That much was clear at last night’s Community Board 3 Land Use Zoning subcommittee meeting.

This image has been archived or removed.

The owner of the destabilized 255 East Houston, which Action for Progress vacated nearly two years ago due to demolition on the adjacent plot, is currently seeking a commercial zoning overlay for a block-and-a-half parcel between Norfolk and Clinton Street. For whatever reason, this small section of real estate was not included as commercial in the 2008 rezoning of the Lower East Side.

The end-game of this proposal is ultimately to demolish and construct a new as-of-right, market-rate tower on the land in order to “clean up that section of East Houston.” As it stands, the developer can currently build a 5.4 FAR project, but with inclusionary affordable housing bonus, could reach 7.2 FAR.  Or, in English, a maximum height of twelve stories, which equates to double the height of the surrounding tenements. By gaining this amended zoning overlay, those involved could reap more cash from ground-floor commercial tenants like bars/restaurants rather than a community facility (if demolished under current zoning, would need to build a residential-compliant building).

This image has been archived or removed.

Yet the board played hardball, and seemed irked with the application, questioning the overall benefit to the community. Sticking points included the likely increase in property values and allocation of affordable housing units. From our perspective, it appeared rather clear that the developers had little to no interest in affordable housing, either on-site or elsewhere (“not economically feasible”).

There was no vote. CB3 sent the developer packing with instructions to conduct outreach on the block to gauge interest in the commercial zoning overlay. This is only the beginning…

Recent Stories

Rehab Begins for Fire-Ravaged School Building in Chinatown

In the wake of the devastating fire at the old Public School 23 building in Chinatown, the cleanup and rehab is full throttle. City contractors starting assembling scaffolding at the scorched 70 Mulberry Street earlier this week. The web of bars is making its way up the whole structure ahead of imminent debris removal. Meanwhile, […]

‘Bel Fries’ Nears Opening on Ludlow Street

The plywood is deposed, revealing the second fast-fry joint for Hell Square. Indeed, it took eighteen months, and several different murals on its shed, but Bel Fries is pretty much ready to go at 132 Ludlow Street. When we first broke word of its arrival in September 2018, we had been told it was called […]

Embattled WeWork Expands into New SoHo Development with 5-Story Workspace

WeWork just opened its latest downtown co-working location, with an enormous stake in a new SoHo development. Nameplate is up. The embattled company took a chunk of 140 Crosby Street (aka 606 Broadway), which came on line last year. The footprint is massive, with office space sprawled across five floors of the modern building. For […]

Pornhub Pop-up Heads to Allen Street for Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, Pornhub is pulling out the stops with a Lower East Side store. Beginning today, the porn website is hosting a two-day pop-up on Allen Street. Located at the corner of Broome Street – and steps from the Janina synagogue – the stunt is meant to woo horny locals to become premium customers. […]

Face Mask Price Gouging and Long Lines at Chinatown Post Offices Amidst Coronavirus Fears

With elevated fears over Coronavirus gripping the world, many like myself, with family in China and Hong Kong, are worried about the shortage of surgical or N95 face masks overseas. While the masks themselves might not be sufficient protection against the virus, it does provide some measure of comfort. But as I discovered, buying these […]