Destabilized 255 East Houston is Back on the Market for $36M

Posted on: June 5th, 2014 at 5:05 am by
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255 East Houston (aka 171 Suffolk Street) has been on life support since early 2010, when demolition of the adjacent building destabilized the structure. The damage ultimately compromised the safety of those within, namely the Action for Progress day care center, which was forced to vacate the premises.

Other than being listed for sale in 2011, and its nemesis neighbor rising alongside, there wasn’t really much to report. Homeless tend to dwell beneath the scaffolding, and the sidewalk smells like piss.

Yet now, for the second time in three years, the property is back on the open market.

This property is unique in that it has frontage on both East Houston and Suffolk Street. Two lots. Owner Samy Mahfar, controversial in these parts for alleged tenant harassment, seeks an astounding $36 million. The new listing is peddled by Massey Knakal, describing the package as a “unique development opportunity.” There is no chance that this structure will remain in place. We’re surprised it lasted this long.

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Photo: Massey Knakal

Prospective developers 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. Back in 2011, 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 and has seemingly fizzled.

The offering presents an opportunity for a developer to acquire a prime Lower East Side development site with 78’ of frontage on East Houston Street. The subject consists of two lots in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The lots include a 78′ x 80′ lot at 255-259 East Houston Street and an adjacent 46′ x 100′ lot at 171-173 Suffolk Street. The site is positioned in a split zone including R8A* and R7A. R8A* zoning allows for a residential FAR of 5.4, community facility of 6.5 and residential with inclusionary housing of 7.2. The R7A zone has an FAR of 4.0 for both residential and community facility uses. The total combined lot coverage is approximately 10,840 SF which would allow for a total combined buildable square footage of approximately 54,896 SF based on residential, 63,960 with community facility bonus, and 69,728 SF with an Inclusionary Housing bonus.

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