Fallow for a Decade, Activity Anew at 49 East Houston Lot
There is actually activity to report at 49 East Houston Street, forever the vacant lot and dumping ground.
Yesterday evening, two crowbar-wielding workers were spotted dismantling the splintered plywood, revealing the void created here a decade ago. Word on the street is that the property is up for sale, though we haven’t spotted any listings just yet.
Regardless, construction ain’t gonna happen in the near future.
Before its demise nine years ago, 49 East Houston was a one-story structure built in the 19th century, and later owned by Steve Stollman. In this storefront, the owner sold bars and classic automat machines. But the space also doubled as a haven for bicycle activists – Time’s Up and Critical Mass.
Stollman sold out back in 2008, and in came the wrecking ball. He netted $5.5 million from telecom entrepreneur Michael Hirtenstein and then-partner restaurateur Sean Largotta. Then the economic downturn hit the fan and the investors started suing each other. Legal proceedings remain ongoing, so, despite the purported sale listing, don’t expect progress in this lifetime.
Moreover, DOB records reveal a stop-work order is still in effect from 2011 for “permit holder withdrawal.”
If and when this violation is ever resolved, and/or the property sells, there’s a slight chance we might see a cantilevered Tetris tower rising alongside the Mulberry House. Outdated renderings by architect Arpad Baksa (below) boast a fourteen-story building (144′) with 41 units. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen.