Samy Mahfar Gets the Green Light for 10-Story Residential Building on East Houston Street

Posted on: December 29th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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Action for Progress is getting some. At least that’s what hated landlord/developer Samy Mahfar would have you believe.

The Department of Buildings finally issued approval, albeit partial, last week for Mahfar’s new ten-story residential tumor on the L-shaped parcel of 255 East Houston (aka 171 Suffolk). Plans have changed slightly since the news first broke, though. Once the destabilized building is razed, the glitzy replacement will boast fifty-three apartments across 48,455 square-feet; the first floor will house a 4,596 square-foot “community facility” and/or medical office. The Stephen B. Jacobs Group – which is behind a similar construction a few blocks to the east – is the architect of record here.

As these zoning diagrams illustrate, there is actually a second building planned for the L-shaped property. This adjoining structure takes the address of 171 Suffolk and will rise five stories in height.

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The wrecking ball is still stalled, however. Even though permits were filed and approved in August of this year, demolition of 255 East Houston is only now in its initial stages. The usual distribution of “rodent bait” signs on the premises is the most telling indication. Soon.

The crumbling 255 East Houston has been vacant ever since construction on the adjacent development destabilized the structure. This activity next door ultimately resulted in the departure of the Action for Progress school in 2010. In the ensuing years, Samy Mahfar tried – and failed – to unload this property. There had been numerous retail listings, all in the ungodly price range north of $30 million.

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It’s also worth mentioning that Mahfar and company previously attempted to install a commercial zoning overlay to allow for retail business on the ground level. The application was met with stiff opposition by Community Board 3 four years ago, and eventually fizzled.

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