Variance for mixed-use building approved

15-unit residential building with commercial space approved for manufacturing district. The owner of 214 25th Street, a 12,617-squarefoot lot in an M1-1D district of Sunset Park, Brooklyn with two vacant, low-rise manufacturing buildings, sought a variance to convert and enlarge one of the structures into a 15-unit, 20,656-square-foot residential building.

The owner argued that manufacturing uses were infeasible due to the buildings’ small size, cost to retrofit, lack of street access, narrow interior spaces and lack of loading facilities. Community Board 7, a local masonry business and the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation opposed the variance, citing inadequate parking, local business delivery interruption and over-development of residential units in a manufacturing district. While the neighborhood was not predominantly residential, the applicant claimed that, because residential uses could be permitted by Planning Department authorization, the proposed construction would not affect the essential character.

BSA determined hardship existed due to the site’s slope and the expense to retrofit the structures, but questioned the credibility of the applicant’s “as is” feasibility study. The owner offered multiple alternatives, but claimed that no proposal with less than 15 units would be feasible.

BSA granted a variance for a 12-unit, 16,935-square-foot building with retail space. The apartments, originally envisioned as high-ceiling lofts, were reduced in height to eight feet, which allowed 12-units without increasing the buildings’ size.

BSA disregarded the possibility of applying to the Planning Department for a residential permit was factual proof that an area was residential, but found the proposal’s overall reduction and the addition of commercial space made it compatible with the neighborhood. Further, the inclusion of ten parking spaces would minimize any impact on parking and the day-to-day operation of local businesses.

BSA: 214 25th Street (361-02-BZ) (April 12, 2005) (Marianne Russo/Peter Hirschman, for 214 25th Street Inc.). CITYADMIN

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