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Ryan Singer, executive director of the Board of Standards and Appeals, tells protesters the application has been withdrawn.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The announcement that Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group had withdrawn their application was made on Tuesday morning.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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Stuyvesant Post Office: Progress being made

Rendering of residential building to be built at 432 East 14th Street

Rendering of residential building to be built at 432 East 14th Street

By Sabina Mollot

Construction will soon start on the eight-story, 114-apartment building that’s planned for the space that once housed the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office.

Additionally, according to the developer, Benenson Capital Partners, construction will end in late 2016 or early 2017 and the building will be 80/20 (market rent vs. affordable housing, respectively). The information was recently published on the owner’s website, which EVGrieve first reported.

The local blog also published a rendering for the project, the first one to be seen publically, which depicts the East 13th Street side of the property, with the ground floor façade covered, trellis-like, in what appear to be plantings.

In related news, on December 18, 2015, the Department of Buildings approved an application for a sub-division of the property’s existing tax lots to three new condominium subdivisions. One was for a commercial unit, the other two residential.

What this means, a spokesperson for the DOB explained, is that the lot is broken into three properties, which is done for certain tax purposes within the Department of Finance. The spokesperson said he couldn’t say whether this meant there would be condos in the traditional sense (owned units as opposed to rental).

Continue reading

Old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office to become 8-story apartment building

The current Peter Stuyvesant Post Office, which will be relocated to another space on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The now closed Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The plans for the soon-to-be demolished former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office have been revealed — it, along with a now vacant shop next store, are to become an eight-story apartment building with 114 apartments.

The plans were announced by Benenson Capital Partners (Benenson) and Mack Real Estate Group (MREG) who are partnering on the development of the property, which will also have 15,400 square feet of ground floor retail.

Benenson has owned the property at 432 East 14th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, since the 1940s, and recently filed demolition plans. The post office closed almost a year ago and has since moved into a smaller space a block west.

The new building, across the street from Stuyvesant Town, will be designed by Robert Laudenschlager of SLCE Architects.

“We are delighted to work with Mack Real Estate Group on this exciting new project, which we believe will maximize the long-term value of a property that has been part of our portfolio for many years,” said Richard A. Kessler, Chief Operating Officer of Benenson, in an official statement. “The Macks share our multi-generational investment philosophy, and we look forward to creating an outstanding building by combining our expertise.”

In a press release, the partners touted the location as a prime spot due to its proximity to the L train connecting the trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick and Williamsburg to the East Village.

Continue reading