Eleven-story building planned at former site of Beth Israel Karpas Center

Sept20 Karpas demolished

CIM group is the owner of the First Avenue property, which previously housed four small buildings. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm CIM Group appears to be moving along with its plans for the property that used to be the Beth Israel Karpas Health Information Center.

The four small adjoining buildings on First Avenue and 18th Street across from Stuyvesant Town have finally been demolished after undergoing a lengthy asbestos abatement treatment.

Additionally, CIM Group has filed an application with the Department of Buildings to be an eleven-story residential building with some retail space. According to the filing, it will have 48,374 square feet of residential use and 6,966 of commercial (with a total 55,340). Continue reading

Morton Williams reportedly won’t sign lease after learning Trader Joe’s will open across from Stuy Town

Associated Supermarket in Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

That was fast.

A mere few days after employees at Stuyvesant Town’s Associated Supermarket were warned that their new employer (for at least a 90-day trial period) would be Morton Williams, the latter supermarket company decided it would not be signing a lease for the space, said Joseph Falzon, one of four owners of the Associated.

Morton Williams apparently decided to pull the plug after hearing that a Trader Joe’s would be moving across the street from Stuyvesant Town in the site that was formerly home to the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office.

The developers behind that under-construction residential building, Mack Real Estate Group and Benenson Capital Partners, declined to comment through a spokesperson. A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s did not yet respond to a request for comment, nor did a spokesperson for Morton Williams.

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Council candidates for District 2 agree to rezone Tech Hub area

The P.C. Richard & Son store on East 14th Street where the Tech Hub is proposed

Maria Rocha-Buschel

Three of the candidates running to replace term-limited Councilwoman Rosie Mendez in District 2 have all pledged their support for rezoning the area around the proposed “Tech Hub” on East 14th Street. The candidates committed their support at a candidate night hosted by historic preservation groups at the Third Street Music School on Monday night.

Nearly 100 concerned residents packed a recital hall in the East 11th Street building while District 2 candidates, as well as candidates running against incumbent Margaret Chin in District 1, fielded questions about their commitment to historic preservation in the neighborhood.

Candidates Erin Hussein, Carlina Rivera and Mary Silver, all Democrats, were all in attendance for the event, although Jasmine Sanchez and Ronnie Cho, who are also running for the seat, were unable to make it.

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Former Post Office site developers give up on trying to add height

Ryan Singer, executive director of the Board of Standards and Appeals, tells protesters the application has been withdrawn. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The developers of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office site have given up on trying to get the green light to add another story to their planned East 14th Street residential building.

The announcement that Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group had withdrawn their application was made on Tuesday morning. The news, delivered by Ryan Singer, executive director of the Board of Standards and Appeals, to a group of mostly union member protesters across the street from the BSA building on Reade Street, elicited cheers.

“The process worked the way it should,” Singer said. “Based on comments from the board yesterday, they felt they could no longer pursue the variance.”

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Old Post Office site owners reduce height request

Rendering of 432-438 East 14th Street

By Sabina Mollot

The owners of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office, who’d proposed a 12-story residential building for the site, have since changed their request, by proposing a smaller, nine-story building instead. In January the owners, Benenson Capital Partners, partnering with Mack Real Estate Group, had gone to the Board of Standards and Appeals to request a zoning variance they’d need to build 12 stories since current zoning only allows for an eight-story structure. Their plan however was fought by community residents as well as the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

The owners’ most recent proposal, which would boost height 14.5 feet higher than what is currently allowable, has also already been blasted by the preservation group. The GVSHP has argued that a building that high is out of context for the East Village and has also claimed that the owners’ main reason for wanting the variance — higher than expected construction costs due to underground water and soil conditions — doesn’t constitute a unique hardship.

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Beth Israel’s Gilman Hall sold and may become dorm

Gilman Hall (photo via Google Maps)

By Sabina Mollot

Gilman Hall, the building at Beth Israel Medical Center’s First Avenue campus, that was put on the market last summer has sold for $87 million to an owner who plans to turn it into student housing.

Asset manager CIM Group announced on Tuesday that it bought the 146,000-square-foot Gilman Hall Tower and contiguous parcels.

“The Gilman Hall site represents an exceptional opportunity to reposition and modernize a significant property in an exciting location currently experiencing substantial public and private investment,” said Avi Shemesh, co-founder and principal of CIM Group. “While the surrounding neighborhood offers desirable amenities and excellent public transportation that complements a variety of potential uses, we believe the site is particularly well suited for a student housing and educational facility use for which several institutions have expressed interest.”

A spokesperson for CIM said the company wouldn’t be commenting further on the future of the property.

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14th St. developer grilled on height request

Commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals, including (from left to right) Chair Margery Perlmutter, Susan Hinkson and Eileen Montanez Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Commissioners of the Board of Standards and Appeals, including (from left to right) Chair Margery Perlmutter, Susan Hinkson and Eileen Montanez (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Board of Standards and Appeals accused developers of getting ahead of themselves in a rush to get a new apartment building started before the deadline for a lucrative tax break in the project at the old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on East 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

BSA chair Margery Perlmutter said in a hearing this past Tuesday that Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group (MREG) “went ahead and, at enormous expense, installed foundation slabs even though their project wasn’t necessarily viable.”

The developers’ attorney John Egnatios-Beene, of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, argued at the hearing that the extra cost for building out the foundation was partially due to the construction of a full basement and the difficulties that resulted in building it due to the ground conditions. This rationale was given in addition to the developer’s previous argument that additional apartments were needed to make the project economically viable due to apartments that would be rented below market rate because of the building’s participation in the 421a affordable housing program.

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Developer of old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office still hopes to build higher

Former Post Office space (pictured last January) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Former Post Office space (pictured last January) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The developer of a planned residential building at the site of the old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office is still hoping to add an additional four stories to what was originally supposed to be an eight-story structure.

Benenson Capital Partners, whose request for a required zoning variance to do this was shot down in July by a committee of Community Board 3, will next be heading to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

While the community board’s unanimous vote in opposition to the variance was just advisory, a decision made by the BSA would be official.

The developer had previously argued that an additional few floors was necessary to make the project economically viable, due to costs related to underground water conditions at the site.

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New Kips Bay building includes housing for the disabled

Adam Weinsten, president of Phipps; Aaron Humphrey, Community Board 6 member; Claude L. Winfield, CB6 vice chairman; Jill Schoenfeld, representative of Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh; Pedro Carrillo and Gene Santoro, CB6 members; Council Member Rosie Mendez; Raj Nayar, CB6 Housing Committee chair; and Howie Levine, representative of Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photos by Michelle Deal Winfield)

Adam Weinsten, president of Phipps; Aaron Humphrey, Community Board 6 member; Claude L. Winfield, CB6 vice chairman; Jill Schoenfeld, representative of Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh; Pedro Carrillo and Gene Santoro, CB6 members; Council Member Rosie Mendez; Raj Nayar, CB6 Housing Committee chair; and Howie Levine, representative of Council Member Dan Garodnick (Photos by Michelle Deal Winfield)

By Michelle Deal Winfield

A new building in Kips Bay, which includes some housing for disabled residents, is now ready for occupancy. The completion of the project comes seven years after it was first discussed by Community Board Six’s Manhattan’s Housing Committee and Full Board.

Henry Phipps Plaza South Development — now referred to as 325 KB — is located at 325 East 25th Street, between First and Second Avenues.

The newly constructed building was built on a vacant lot that had been used as a basketball court. Phipps is awaiting a Certificate of Occupancy which the owner expects to receive in two weeks. It consists of 55 rental apartments: 10 studios, 18 one-bedrooms, 27 two-bedrooms, and the superintendent lives on the first floor. Forty percent of the apartments are affordable, which in this case means under 80 percent of the NYC area median income (AMI). The other 60 percent of the units range from 20 percent at 120 percent of the AMI, 20 percent at 145 percent of the AMI and 20 percent at 165 percent of the AMI.

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Carmel Place micro-unit building opens in Kips Bay

(Pictured L-R) Hermit Hewitt, board chair, Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Asociation, Inc.; Alicia Glen, NYC deputy mayor; Molly Park, former HPD Commissioner of Development; Council Member Rosie Mendez, Claude L. Winfield, Community Board Six vice chairman (Photo by Photo by Michelle Deal Winfield)

(Pictured L-R) Hermit Hewitt, board chair, Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association, Inc.; Alicia Glen, NYC deputy mayor; Molly Park, former HPD Commissioner of Development; Council Member Rosie Mendez, Claude L. Winfield, Community Board Six vice chairman (Photo by Photo by Michelle Deal Winfield)

By Michelle Deal Winfied

On Thursday, October 27 at 10:30 a.m., a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of Carmel Place, formerly referred to as Micro Apartments. Carmel Place is located at 335 East 27th Street next to Bellevue South Park.

Residents, elected officials and Community Board Six members attended the ceremony.

Kirk Goodrich, senior vice president and director of real estate development, Developer of Monadnock Development, LLC gave the opening remarks by saying, “This project was an opportunity to introduce choices while delivering fulfilling creative styles.”

Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen provided a brief history of the NYC’s efforts in constructing affordable housing units.

In her remarks she noted that Mayor Bill de Blasio has financed 55,309 affordable since taking office.

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Rendering, details announced about new building for R&S Strauss site

Rendering of 644 East 14th Street

Rendering of 644 East 14th Street

By Sabina Mollot

Progress is being made to turn the former R&S Strauss site into a residential building.

Opal Holdings purchased the site of the former auto parts shop – across the street from Stuyvesant Town at 644 East 14th – in July.

The owner has since secured a $52 million first mortgage loan. The announcement was made by Madison Realty Capital, the firm that provided the financing, who also provided some details about the future building.

The plans for 644 East 14th Street include 50 residential units, 8,064 square feet of retail space with 200 feet of frontage on 14th Street and Avenue C, and 21,575 square feet of community facility space. Residential units (it wasn’t clear if they’d be co-ops, condos or rentals) will offer contemporary finishes and large balconies with East River views.

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Residents mixed on plan for Target to open on East 14th

Target has signed a lease for a space at what is now a construction site across from Stuyvesant Town. Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Target has signed a lease for a space at what is now a construction site across from Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Recently, a plan to open a Target store on East 14th Street at the future residential development that’s now a construction site between Avenues A and B, was made public. The news, first reported by the Real Deal, also mentioned that the store to open at the site, which is leased by Extell Development, will be smaller than most of the other Target locations.

This week, Town & Village asked around in Stuyvesant Town for residents’ thoughts on the neighborhood’s first big box store. Responses were, as expected, mixed, though most of the people interviewed indicated they would shop there.

Stuy Town resident Kay Vota noted, “I think it’s wonderful. Their prices are very reasonable. You can’t go anywhere else for those prices.” Still, she expressed some concern about competition for the surrounding existing businesses.

“What’s going to happen to the Associated?” asked Vota.

Another resident said she was concerned about the supermarket as well. The woman, who said she was one of Stuy Town’s first black residents, declined to share her name, explaining that with the low rent she pays, she doesn’t like to remind the landlord that she exists.

“Forget Target,” she said. “I want to keep the Associated. Will Target be selling food? Associated is more important. They got rid of (Stuy Town’s) D’Agostino. Will we be importing our food soon?”

The woman also said she had no need for the business. “I don’t want to rush to Target to buy any new things. It wouldn’t be helping me.”

Asked if she’d shop there, another resident, Elvina Oey, told T&V, “Probably yes. Because the closest one to us is the one in Brooklyn.” As for what she’d get there, Oey guessed, “Household cleaners, cleaning supplies like paper towels and soaps. That kind of stuff.”

An original tenant and retired cop who would only give his first name, Thomas, had conflicting views. On the one hand, when asked if he’d shop there, Thomas responded “yes,” but then said he was worried the store would become a destination for non-locals and end up raising crime stats in the neighborhood.

“I see the Target bringing crime,” said Thomas, whose beat was his own neighborhood. “Target’s going to, I feel, have a major shoplifting problem. It’s going to be one of those things where we’ll see what happens.” He added that he’d prefer to see a Trader Joe’s in the space, which according to rumors, is also in talks for a retail space at the Extell site.

A 15-year-old resident, Daniel, also gave the plan a thumbs down, figuring it would just lead to crowding.

“I don’t think it’s going to be good,” he said. “It’s going to bring a bunch of people in here. People are going to walk through the property and it’s going to get congested.”

One couple also said they were not looking forward to the big bull’s-eye’s arrival and guessed the future residents of the building to house it wouldn’t want it either.

“I wonder what the tenants paying high rent think about having a Target below them,” said Peter Harris. “They’re definitely getting hit with high rents.” He added, “As a small business owner, I’d be concerned. It’s going to knock out some of the little places.”

Harris’ wife, Frances, added, “I don’t like that part of it” and said she thought it was “too bad” about a major fire at the location in 2010 that displaced five small business storefronts. Frances also said if the store ends up bringing more foot traffic to the area, “I wouldn’t like it. And I wonder if it would take a lot of parking spaces away from us.”

Meanwhile, one neighbor of the construction site, who said he lives in the next building over, had this to say: “I don’t care much either way.” The resident, Zac Hoffman, who’s lived in his apartment for the last two years, seemed more irked about the ongoing construction noise, which, he pointed out, starts every day at 7 a.m. Hoffman isn’t planning to move though, explaining that rents have gone up significantly since he last had to look. So, when asked if he’d give the new inconvenience store some business, Hoffman answered, “Probably.”

Target does however have a supporter in Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association.

“I’m for it,” she said. “As long as it’s not a Walmart.”

A spokesperson for Target declined to comment on what the new store would offer, only confirming that a lease had been signed, “contingent on approvals.”

UPDATE: The company has released further details on the store, which is expected to open in 2018.

The Real Deal reported the lease is for 30 years and the location is at the corner of Avenue A.

CB3 denies request to build higher at old Post Office site

The former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A Community Board 3 committee recently shot down a developer’s request to build higher than zoning allows at the site of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on East 14th Street. The board’s Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee last Wednesday unanimously voted against the zoning variance for a 12-story building. City zoning laws allow the developer to build up to eight stories at the site.

Representatives for Benenson Capital Partners, which is working on the development at the site, 432-438 East 14th Street, previously asked the committee for the variance in June. The company argued that construction costs related to the groundwater conditions made complying with affordable housing unfeasible unless the development could be built larger, the blog EVGrieve reported at the time. With the proposed change in height, the building would have 31 units of affordable housing and a total of 155 units. CB3 had asked the reps to return after the June meeting after looking into alternatives to increasing the building height.

A number of community groups spoke against the plan last week to make the development between First Avenue and Avenue A higher, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), the North Avenue A Neighborhood Association, the 12th Street Block Association and the 13th Street Block Association, as well as residents of East 13th Street.
Harry Bubbins, who works with GVSHP as the East Village and special projects director, gave testimony against granting the variance because he felt it was “out of context” with the other buildings in the area.

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Kips Bay micro units now available

Kitchen area of one micro unit (Photo by Michelle Deal Winfield)

Kitchen area of one micro unit (Photo by Michelle Deal Winfield)

By Sabina Mollot

New York City’s first micro-unit development, known as Carmel Place, is now officially open for leasing.  Located at 335 East 27th Street, market-rate studios at the building are available for a June 1 move-in.  Developer Monadnock and leasing agent Citi Habitats New Developments made the announcement on Monday.

Apartments at Carmel Place range in size from 265 to 360 square feet, and feature 9’6’’ ceilings, 8’ tall picture windows with Juliet (small) balconies, and modern kitchens and bathrooms. Some units even include private outdoor space. Rents at the apartments will range from $2,500-$2,900. While 40 percent of the building’s 55 units have been set aside for affordable housing, those apartments have already been leased.

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NYU Langone expanding to 41st St.

NYU Langone will occupy all of 222 East 41st Street in addition to its current First Avenue facility. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Property Trust)

NYU Langone will occupy all of 222 East 41st Street in addition to its current First Avenue facility. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Property Trust)

By Sabina Mollot

NYU Langone Medical Center will be expanding its presence on the East Side, having just inked a 30-year lease with landlord Columbia Property Trust, Inc. for an additional building.

The owner, in an announcement last Thursday, said the hospital will be occupying the entire building, a 25-story office tower at 222 East 41st Street. NYU Langone is expected to move in around the end of the year, after another Columbia’s lease with law firm Jones Day at the property expired last October. The owner didn’t say what the rent would be.

NYU Langone will be converting the building into a combination of medical offices, ambulatory care facilities and other ancillary uses. The lobby has already been upgraded and Columbia Property Trust said the hospital will also benefit from other amenities at the building, which was built in 2001 and acquired by Columbia in 2007.

Services currently planned for the building are ophthalmology, plastic surgery, neurology, urology, dermatology, orthopedics and radiology as well as other physician practice offices. However, hospital spokesperson DJ Haffeman said there still might be changes.

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