[EVG photo from last month]
Controversial developer Samy Mahfar has withdrawn his application to rezone part of East Houston Street and the Lower East Side.
As The Lo-Down first reported, the City Council’s subcommittee on zoning and franchises was scheduled to vote on the proposal Tuesday.
If approved, then Mahfar would have the go-ahead to build a restaurant or bar in the new building he's developing at 255 E. Houston St. between Norfolk and Suffolk. The current zoning only permits a community facility.
Head to The Lo-Down for more on the story.
And some background...
No. 255 previously housed the day-care center Action For Progress. They were displaced in the spring of 2010 when construction next door at 179 Suffolk St. destabilized the building.
Last summer, Mahfar, the property's new owner, filed plans for a 10-story residential complex with 53 residences and 4,600 square feet for community facilities.
However, as BoweryBoogie reported in late February, Mahfar was seeking a commercial overlay for the parcel, with 7,240 square-feet for commercial use ... while the project grew to a 13-story building with 63 residential units that looks like...
In May, CB3 approved a resolution opposing the change. City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also opposed the commercial overlay. Still, the Mayor de Blasio-controlled City Planning Commission approved the application on July 13.
In a letter dated Sept. 6, Mahfar told City Planning Director Carl Weisbrod that he was withdrawing the application for the commercial overlay.
Here's a statement from Mendez on the situation here...
“The application to rezone Houston Street to add a commercial overlay in my district did not move forward at the City Council. While a vote was scheduled to take place on September 8th, I did not feel that moving forward with the proposed commercial overlay was in the best interests of the community and the applicant withdrew their application.
In 2008, my office worked closely with Community Board 3, the Department of City Planning, advocacy groups, residents, and businesses to address out-of-scale development happening across the Lower East Side and East Village. The selection of residential contextual districts was done in a purposeful manner which would allow for new development but protected the residential character of the community. The planning efforts completed in 2008 was the community’s self-determination for its future. It was the result of a transparent process that involved comprehensive thinking about the entire area. Continuing that tradition, the community board, and my staff evaluated the change in zoning and felt that only community facility or residential uses are the most appropriate uses in this area.
In addition, the significant interest of area community facility providers leads me to believe that there is a high demand for the community facility space that will be offered at 255 East Houston Street. I remain open to helping to place 4,000 square feet of a non-profit or community-oriented community facility at the location.”
Previously on EV Grieve:
Next for 255 E. Houston St.: Community facility/school/medical building?
10-story building now in the works for 255 E. Houston St.
Debate over commercial overlay for 255 E. Houston St. and surrounding blocks continues