Planning Commission Approves Retail Conversion on Upper East Side

19 East 72nd Street. Image credit: Google Maps

City Planning approved a special permit for a retail establishment in the bottom floor of a 17-story building on the Upper East Side. On October 4, 2017, the City Planning Commission issued a favorable report on an application for a special permit from the 19 East 72nd Street Corporation—owner of 19 East 72nd Street in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The application sought a special permit to modify the use regulations of Section 22-10 and the sign regulations of Section 22-30 of the Zoning Resolution to allow for retail uses on portions of the ground floor of the existing 17-story building.

The building was designed by Rosario Candela and Mott Schmidt, and was completed in 1937. It is located within the Upper East Side Historic District that was established in 1981. The ground floor currently contains a superintendent’s apartment, a vacant doctor’s office, and the residential lobby fronting East 72nd Street, a perfume store that fronts Madison Avenue, and an art gallery on the corner. The upper floors contain 36 residential units—all occupied.

The requested special permit would allow the owner to convert the superintendent’s apartment and vacant doctor’s office to Use Group 6 commercial retail space. The retail space would total 2,314 square feet. A minimal amount of non-illuminated, accessory signage was proposed as well.

On July 19, 2017, Manhattan Community Board 8 voted 23-12 to approve the application. On August 25, 2017, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer issued her recommendation to approve the application.

In its report, the Commission found the application for the special permit to be appropriate. The report noted that the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted in support of the special permit. The Commission found that the use change would have minimal effects on area. The proposed signs “would be non-illuminated, which would benefit the residents in the area, and would consist of one post sign and decals affixed to two windows and one door.”

The application will move to the City Council for consideration in the coming weeks.

CPC: 19 East 72nd Street, Manhattan (170452 ZSM) (Oct. 4, 2017).

By: Jonathon Sizemore (Jonathon is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2016).

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