Looks as if there is renewed interest in the southwest corner of East 14th Street and Avenue C.
The R&S Strauss auto parts store here closed in the spring of 2009. And nothing has happened with the building since then (save the addition of more graffiti...)
Billy Gray reported at the Commercial Observer yesterday that Avison Young is now exclusively marketing 644 E. 14th St. "And a near-absence of height restrictions has brokers dangling the possibility of a tower on a site with 65,689 square feet of development rights," he noted.
As we previously reported in January:
According to the Massey Knakal Web site, the building was sold in January 2009 for $12.3 million. As the site noted: "The lot measures 114’9” x 88’and has a total buildable square footage of approximately 36,125 sq. ft. for residential use or 68,262 sq. ft. for a community facility, which will likely be the ultimate use of the property."
Turns out the buyer was Arun Bhatia, who currently has plans in place for a dorm at the former 35 Cooper Square. And the developer filed plans for a new 11-story building here on Dec. 23, 2009, per DOB records. The City disapproved the plans later in 2010.
These plans called for a 65,399-square-foot building. In an email to the Observer, Neil Helman of Avison Young's capital markets group said that the location "on two wide streets with virtually no restrictions on height limitations is also highly advantageous, enabling a tower to be erected, which would take advantage of the great East River views."
He expected a price to be the mid-$20 million range.
Is this a tough sell? The space is bounded by the Con Ed plant, which is prone to releasing steam pressure in the middle of the night and scaring the heck out of people.
... and Campos Plaza to the south... Security cameras, funded in part by City Councilmember Rosie Mendez's office, were installed here in March 2012 after an uptick in violence reportedly left residents living in fear.
Or is this really the beginning of a new era along here. As Jeremiah Moss wrote about R&S back in May 2008, this corner represents "an opening for the overall Meatpacking effect that is rippling up and down this main artery to reach deep into the East Village. The site has 'flagship opportunity' written all over it."