SoHo Owner Seeks Permission to Convert Vacant Manufacturing Space for Retail Use

110 Greene St., Manhattan. Image Credit: CityLand.

110 Greene St., Manhattan. Image Credit: CityLand.

Special Permit would allow owner to rent out space for conforming use after vacancy of over one year. On January 22, 2014, the City Planning Commission held a public meeting for an application for a special permit for 110 Greene Street in SoHo, between Spring and Prince Streets, Manhattan.  The permit would allow the owner to convert portions of the cellar and first floor into Use Group 6 occupancy for retail use. The through-block site lies between Greene and Mercer Streets and hosts a 13-story building with a total of almost 170,000 sq. ft. of floor area. The space was originally zoned for manufacturing use. In 1991, a special permit was issued to convert portions of the ground floor of 110 Greene Street for retail use. A smaller portion of the cellar and ground floor was then occupied by conforming manufacturing tenant, a photo lab.

Marvin Mitzner, representing the applicant Goldman Properties, testified that that the space could not be occupied for conforming use under the current zoning. Mitzner stated that after the photo lab ceased operation, the owner had not been able to rent or lease the space because of the current split zoning of the lot.  The owner submitted over a year’s worth of evidence of unsuccessful good faith efforts to rent the space for conforming uses.  Michael Sandler from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office testified in support of the application, agreeing that Goldman had shown that it had made a good faith effort to find a manufacturing tenant.

The proposed special permit application seeks to convert the remaining portion of the cellar and ground floors for retail use.  If the application is approved, an existing furniture store, Design Within Reach, will be expanded into the cellar. The rest of the retail space will be used for a new gallery space. Mitzner stated that a gallery space is currently interested in the space.

Both Manhattan Community Board 2 and the Manhattan Borough President recommended approval with the caveat that an eating and drinking establishment would not occupy the converted space. Mitzner stated that Goldman agreed to a permanent ban on eating and drinking uses in the converted space and submitted a letter to the community board and the Borough President accordingly.

City Planning: 110 Greene St. (C 140069 ZSM – Special Permit)(January 22, 2014).

By: Jennifer Baek (Jennifer is a CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2013).

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