Residential/retail approved for Sixth Ave. and Canal

BSA reduces project size by almost 7,000 sq.ft. SoHo Island, LLC applied to BSA for a use variance to construct a nine-story, 73,645- square-foot residential and retail building on Sixth Avenue between Canal and Grand Streets in SoHo. The 11,300-square-foot development site consists of three merged lots zoned for manufacturing. Currently, the site contains the Moondance Diner, a paved parking lot and a two-story building with a garage and a photography shop, all of which would be demolished for the new development.

SoHo Island argued that weak soil conditions, gasoline contamination, the area’s high water table and the proximity to the A, C and E Subway tunnel made construction costly and rendered manufacturing uses cost-prohibitive.

Since most neighboring lots faced similar issues, SoHo Island submitted an analysis of 12 neighboring sites, four of which had received BSA variance approvals, showing that no site faced the conditions as severely as it did. At the site, the subway extends past the street’s curb line and under the sidewalk, providing little buffer between the tunnel and the building’s foundation. Due to this tight proximity, SoHo Island explained that the Transit Authority would require a soil test along the tunnel wall and would prohibit SoHo Island’s use of the more inexpensive, but heavier, crawler crane. SoHo Island’s engineer added that, due to the site’s poor soil conditions, the building would need deep foundations, but the TA would prohibit driven piles. The developer would drill the foundation piles at a greater expense.

BSA agreed that the site created unique construction problems but raised concerns with the size of the building. Under the zoning, conforming buildings would be limited to 56,650 sq.ft. (a 5 FAR), and the proposal exceeded that limit by 16,995 sq.ft. (a 6.5 FAR). SoHo Island argued that the size was appropriate since adjacent uses included the 17-story SoHo Grand Hotel and the 16-story loft at 100 Sixth Avenue. BSA asked the developer to study a reduced, 66,733-square-foot building (a 5.89 FAR).

BSA granted the variance for the reduced development, finding that SoHo Island would gain a reasonable return on its investment with a 66,733-square-foot residential and retail building. BSA approved an eight-story, 116-foot tall building with 23 residential units and 6,685 sq.ft. of ground floor retail.

BSA: 74/88 Avenue of the Americas (130- 05-BZ) (April 4, 2006) (Elise Wagner, for SoHo Island). CITYADMIN

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.