Spring Street Developer Withdraws Application for Controversial Special Little Italy District Zoning Change

Posted on: June 26th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

The years-running saga of rear yard development at 53-55 Spring Street concluded two weeks ago when the landlord withdrew the proposal under community pressure.

Developer Joseph Brunner (aka JBAM), who acquired the property two years ago for $15.5 million, sought to construct a one-story addition that would encompass the rear courtyard, thereby enlarging the overall retail footprint. Team Brunner appeared before City Council earlier this month to fight for a Zoning Text Amendment that would alter 55-57 Spring Street from Area A to Area A1 zoning to make it happen.

That plan is no longer in the cards, though. Pressure from neighbors – the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, in particular – paid off. Brunner withdrew the application on June 14. An activist tipster sent along the following dispatch from the City Council Zoning Subcommittee meeting last week:

Chin just read a statement about the Withdrawal, saying she could not support a piecemeal approach to rezoning in the SLID, and that community activism in response / opposition to that ULURP application was exactly how things should take place.

Makes sense. City Council wasn’t on board with the Brunner application during the hearing earlier this month. Councilwoman Chin read a letter of opposition at the time, stating that the one-story addition wasn’t in the best interest of the area. Adding fuel to the proverbial fire, Community Board 2 twice rejected the proposal and the Borough President later reversed her prior support of the project.

The City Council judgment is a wrench for ownership, though. Word on the street is that 55-57 Spring Street is reportedly being marketed for sale, and that ownership had been banking on the approval. Guess this hurts the resale value…

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