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This image has been archived or removed.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This image has been archived or removed.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

Pedestrian Fatally Struck in Intersection of Bowery and Delancey

Crossing Delancey is a dangerous game. Early Tuesday morning, the driver of an SUV struck and killed a man crossing the thoroughfare by the Bowery. Apparently, the pedestrian had been crossing the street at 3:40am, when a westbound 2001 Nissan Pathfinder changed lanes before colliding with the victim. The driver – coincidentally, another 52-year-old man […]

Il Laboratorio del Gelato Expands to New Jersey

The brains behind frozen treatery Il Laboratorio del Gelato have, once again, expanded operations. Only this time, they’ve left the neighborhood and crossed state lines. The latest creamery in the stable is located in Montclair, New Jersey, on the corner of Valley and Bellevue. Owner Jon Snyder is no stranger to the expansion game – […]

Veselka Returns to Essex Crossing After Pandemic Year

Veselka is finally coming back below the Delancey divide. The decades-old Ukrainian institution returns to Essex Crossing this Saturday, reinstating its presence in the Market Line after a year on the sideline. However, it’ll occupy a much smaller footprint in the “Mini Market” at the base of the Essex Market staircase, a pandemic era version […]

How ‘Sweet’ it is to be Back at Chelsea Music Hall

How sweet it is to be back. Sweet, the long-running comedy show born on the Lower East Side nearly two decades ago, returns tonight after the pandemic-imposed sidelining. The comeback show is at its new home at the Chelsea Music Hall. The lineup features Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” co-anchor Michael Che, Rachel Feinstein, and […]

Pianos Returns to Ludlow Street in July

When Pianos announced its indefinite closure at the outset of the pandemic last year, hysteria gripped the local newsscape. So much so, that the Lower East Side venue backtracked the initial messaging to state that reopening would happen when safe to do so. That time is apparently now. Being a bar and performance venue, Pianos […]