Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Proposed plans now call for a 24-story residential building on 14th Street and Avenue C

Updated 6/15: L+M Development Partners is not a developer in this project. According to a spokesperson, L+M's only role was assisting NYCHA in selling air rights. The post has been modified to reflect this.

There are proposed plans to build a 24-story, 166-unit residential building — including 50 "affordable" units — at the long-vacant lot on the SW corner of 14th Street and Avenue C. The development would include retail space and a community facility. 

Tonight, CB3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee will hear a presentation from reps for New York City Housing Authority and Madison Realty Capital. 

The corner property — 644 E. 14th St. — has been in a stalled-development mode for years. (This corner property last housed the single-level R&S Strauss auto parts store, which closed in April 2009.) 

There are already approved plans here for a 15-floor mixed-use building, though there aren't any affordable units attached to this version. As revealed in the spring of 2021, several developers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby the city for NYCHA air rights to make this a larger structure with more housing.

This past spring, the NYCHA and Madison Realty Capital filed documents seeking a non-ULURP modification — known as an LSRD — to the development plan.

PincusCo first reported on this. Per their report:
The application seeks to modify the boundaries of the previously approved plans and zoning calculations by expanding the zoning lot to include 644 East 14th Street (Block 396, Lot 29). Through the zoning lot merger, the development rights from the existing LSRD comprised of Campos Plaza I and II, which are owned by a joint venture that includes NYCHA ... can be transferred to Block 396, Lot 29, a vacant property owned by Madison Realty Capital.
According to a presentation posted to the CB3 website, the benefits of this air-rights deal would: 
• "Generate revenue for NYCHA, which will fund repairs exclusively at Campos Plaza II."
• "Enhance the pedestrian experience for both Campos Plaza and the surrounding community with new ground floor retail, ground floor community facility, lighting and new street trees." 
• "Provide additional affordable housing units pursuant to the Affordable New York Program Option B." 
• "MRC will commit to a resident hiring plan."

The presentation includes a rendering of the proposed building, a "massing evolution" and a slide on the "appropriateness of height" ... 
As previously reported, Madison Realty Capital paid Opal Holdings $31.3 million for the property in May 2020. Opal Holdings bought the parcel in June 2016 for $23 million. 

Concerns over new plans

Meanwhile, there are concerns about the plan for the larger-scale development.

One group of locals started a Facebook group to help notify residents of the ongoing plans at No. 644.

"While we are all for the development of that corner ... and the affordable housing element of the plans, we are not happy with the sheer size of the footprint and the excessive height that goes along with the proposal," one of the organizers told EVG. "We believe it will have countless negative effects on the local community and is out of place in this neighborhood. One major, immediate concern is that they have done little outreach and have kept plans for the project very quiet, which seems to be an obvious strategy to avoid any scrutiny from the local public."

Before a presentation last month prior to CB3's Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee, Tenants Taking Control, a group of 100-plus long-term tenants in 15 East Village buildings owned by Madison Realty Capital, spoke out against the plans.

In a "warning letter" to CB3 members and other local elected officials, the group, which has had Madison Realty Capital as a landlord since 2017, alleged: "We believe from first-hand experience that they disregard East Village tenant and community needs for their own financial benefit."

Tonight's committee meeting starts at 6:30. You can find the Zoom link here

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just where I’d want to live, across from the power plant.

Neighbor said...

People are seriously pulling NIMBY crap on this corner??? This is across the street from a utility building about as far East as possible. If any corner should have the biggest building it can support it's this corner. In a structurally undersupplied housing stock we should be pushing as much housing as humanly possible! AND the new project has affordable units while the previous didn't! Unbelievable.

José Garcia said...

As much as we enjoy living in the shadow of the power plant ourselves, it is hard to imagine a less august address than 14th Street and Avenue C. We wouldn't mind the auto parts place back. They had everything and were super nice. Or 100% pure play affordable housing for people from the neighborhood. Best, JG

Anonymous said...

Fully support them building this to the full height listed. No time for this NIMBY nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Funded by Madison realty capital. The same mrc that was ordered by the nys AG to pay $1 million in rent credits to east village residents for the associated behavior of Madison’s then partner, Rafael Toledano. Good landlords? Me thinks not.

Anonymous said...

sure, 100% NIMBY and my back yard is the entire East Village. A 24-story high rise has no place here.

Xeo said...

Back in the 80's, the smaller buildings around there had to give special approval for NYCHA to build their tall buildings in the neighborhood as it was going against the standard roof height of the area. They approved it because it was for a good cause. While today people have mixed feelings about those buildings jutting out around the area... I'm sure that no one thought that they were giving carte blanche to building 24 story buildings.

I'm not a NIMBY person, but this seems excessive. Developers have been sitting on that lot for years and years in an attempt to wheedle a larger building out of the area. Seems dishonest to me.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice if they included a deal to extend an L train stop to that corner. Transportation in that area has always sucked and needs improvement

Anonymous said...

We don't need a building that tall. I will just create more crowded public transportation & streets. If you can't afford to live in Manhattan then you should live elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

The affordable housing will be for people making $130k .Definatly affordable for the real East Village tenants .MRC already destabilized more than half the portfolio they already own and used alleged construction as harassment Techniques across the portfolio to scare off rent stabilized tenants . Hardly a new neighbor. Also, where are these so-called affordable apartments going to be on the side where the power plant is?

Anonymous said...

Good idea to claim the unused vertical space. When you think about it, a building should be built as tall as possible otherwise all of the vertical space above the buildings footprint is lost.

Anonymous said...

NIMBY trolls!!! They got Carlina and De Blasio.

Neighbor said...

This (11:42) is the most ridiculous, elitist nimby nonsense. Manhattan is massively undersupplied with housing and could be much more affordable if more housing was added.

Anonymous said...

The same Madison Realty Capital that buys rent-stabilized buildings, then "Frankensteins" any units that become vacant, removing them from the rent-stabilization rolls while causing miserable living conditions for the remaining tenants. Which encourages them to leave and so on, and so on...

Anonymous said...

Seriously, to al the neighbors, if we can build an immense amount of affordable housing as the majority, then this would be amazing.

Anonymous said...

This is great. As others have said, this is a perfect place to take full advantage of the height (and overcome the downsides of the location a bit). No one is served by an empty lot, and it will stay empty unless there are incentives like this. This is very basic stuff that is too hard to understand for many here.

Sarah said...

Like others here, my concern is not so much with the building as with the developer. Madison Realty is bad folks. They were Raphael Toledano's bankroller and they financed him on terms that everyone knew meant he would have to run out rent-stabilized tenants in order to pay the interest. They really shouldn't ever get to do residential projects in this city ever again.

Anonymous said...

With the more housing isn't a bad thing but the "Affordable" is questionable with These operators, I fear it'll be like the bar owners who say they're going to open a cafe and boom it's a disco too many lies too many rules and regs being ignored but here we are if it's truly affordable Great! if it's yearly income is ass another poster said 130K per year that's not affordable hosing for working class and poor people so then that's a hard NO

More Truly Affordable Housing Please

Anonymous said...

To save on material costs, they should build this out of legos. And they can pass the savings on to the tenants with lower rents.

Anonymous said...

I live in one of the five story buildings next door to the proposed tower. We welcome development of affordable housing at this site, but the proposed building is massively out of scale and would block our light and air. The zoning lot merger and air right purchase create a building more than twice the size of what current zoning would allow for. Affordable housing was built a block away (over Target) that’s only seven stories tall and makes an effort to blend in with the existing buildings in the block.
I would also point out that the City’s environmental review (CEQR) carefully excluded the nine old law tenements on this block of 14th Street, defining the “Directly Affected Area” as Campos and 644 East 14th. So the buildings surrounded by this “U” aren’t considered at all — and not surprising the CEQR found no impacts. A dishonest process to justify the wrong building for this site.

Anonymous said...

Build it! Is it really out of scale with the 26-story Haven Plaza one block away? Or next to the giant power plant next to a giant Highway? R&S Strauss to get your replacement alternator and skull-themed valve stem caps isn’t coming back.

Anonymous said...

Stop with the YIMBY. No one wants this monstrosity in our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Yea, we are all grieving the loss of our neighborhood. There’s nothing left but a handful of us 1 and it’s a nonstop battle just to stay in our homes. I’d welcome a homeless shelter on my block, but no more bs mixed-use apt buildings. If you can afford to live here, respectfully you don’t really belong here. My two Pennies

Anonymous said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

You are correct! I’m too poor to move, but the main reason I hate this city and neighborhood is my fng corporate landlord and the fact anyone who can afford to live here…. Well, they all kind of suck. I miss the old New York.

Anonymous said...

Build it already! Every structure around it is tall, it's right next to the power plant, its the perfect place to put a big building in the east village. The rent's too damn high = build more housing supply. It is the only way.

Anonymous said...

I live in the coop next to the future plan. We will fight it. Even if, unfortunately, deep inside me, I know it's a loss cause. My coop is against it.
We just had a zoom meeting tonight about it.To be continued...
Campos might have sold their soul to the devil selling their air right.
Triste époque....

Anonymous said...

Perfectly fits in with the Disneyland hellscape that this neighborhood's becoming.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to point out the posters covering that fence in the upper picture are of the great Dublin band Fontaines DC

Anonymous said...

This would cast a huge shadow and block our sunlight, which would significantly lower the property value of my entire building.

Anonymous said...

Anyone whose life, sunlight, airflow and view of the sky will not be directly affected by the building of this out-of-scale monstrosity has no right whatsoever to tell those of us who will (some of you many many many times) that we should be grateful to have it shoehorned in where it has no business being. And as for the specious comparisons between the size of the projects and this, well, the projects were built to be 100% affordable, which in my book puts them in another category altogether.

Anonymous said...

Lol at all of these people saying Manhattan lacks housing. We have tons of vacant buildings and apartments that could be fixed up before we build a whole new structure. Are these comments sponsored by the developer? I can’t imagine anyone who actually lives in this neighborhood thinking we need more apartment buildings. We have many.

Neighbor said...

There is abundant data about the lack of available housing in NYC. The increase in rental prices is driven by both elevated demand and insufficient supply. Not everyone who pays attention to facts and looks at things objectively is some developer shill.

As for people talking about their view/light/etc being impaired by development you do realize if that standard was applied the city would be static and housing prices would go up even more?

I can't believe in a liberal city with fairly open minded perspective people are being so close minded and elitist.

In fact those of who aren't directly adjacent to developments can and should have a view. And support development.

Sarah said...

"The increase in rental prices is driven by both elevated demand and insufficient supply."

Landlord greed aka late capitalistic rent extraction also plays a very important role (hence my concern about Madison's involvement), but, otherwise, yes.

Anonymous said...

As a nearby resident not only does this proposed development not fit the character of the neighborhood, but it also infringes on our light and air. More importantly, though, are the psychological effects of displacement. I am trying to raise a family in this neighborhood and my children deserve to grow up next to the dilapidated brownfield parking lot that they’re accustomed to and NOT an ostentatious display of wealth that this new development represents.

Anonymous said...

https://freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/its-time-for-yimbys-to-stop-picking explains the disingenuous posturing by people who claim to want more housing, but in reality show their colors like in these comments.

Brian said...

YIMBY. That is all.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe so many are opposed to this. it's an ugly, vacant lot. NYC needs to start building units, and lots of them.

People who oppose tall, dense developments must realize they are contributing to a deficit in housing supply and thus *ensuring the East Village stays unaffordable and thoroughly gentrified*. When people say "i miss the old east village" they are saying they miss the east village when it was affordable and ordinary people lived there. but in tripping up developments at every turn, they're are sealing the fate of the EV as a place where only the upper class can afford to live.

It does seem like MRC and other developers suck, and i sympathize that these conglomerates are probably heartless landlords. but they are fronting the money and attempting to work within the zoning system here to *actually build something*

Anonymous said...

So many real estate trolls... so much time and money. Look at all the luxury housing being built- just a place for oligarchs to park their money and visit for a day or two a year. This kind of housing doesn't solve anything, except destroying the fabric of neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

100% most thoughtful response, for the record

Anonymous said...

Please try and understand: as much as we don't like it , it will benefit Campos Plaza II. The money from the transfer of Air Rights will be going to these building. Building that have been in disrepair for some time. There are some tenants paying up to 2000. A month for broken elevators, broken doors, constant flooding, plumbing issues, lack of storm windows and more. NYCHA no longer has the budget to repair this mess. They NYCHA, gave tenants an opportunity to receive funds from the sale of Air Rights. Negotiations have been discussed but it was only minimal changes done in the planning. NYCHA and the tenants have no choice of who purchased the land.