Variance granted after concession on height and parking

Split-level manufacturing building in DUMBO will be converted to 52-unit residential building. 37 Bridge Associates, LLC, the owner of 37 Bridge Street, a 12,500-square-foot lot between Water and Plymouth Streets in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, proposed to convert a 67,500-square-foot manufacturing building for residential use. The split-level, three- and seven-story building, formerly occupied by a soap manufacturer, is located on the border of M1-2 and M1-3 zoning districts within the DUMBO National Register Historic District.

37 Bridge initially submitted three feasibility studies showing manufacturing, office and residential use scenarios. 37 Bridge argued that the building was unsuitable and unmarketable for manufacturing or commercial use because eight metal silos ran vertically through five stories, breaking through the floor plates. Upon BSA’s request, 37 Bridge submitted additional evidence that the silos were unmarketable and that removal would be cost prohibitive. BSA also requested evidence that the three-story portion of the building was unmarketable as a manufacturing site under a mixed-use scenario. Further evidence of the building’s unsuitability for modern manufacturing included non-conforming loading docks, 11-foot ceilings, and unaligned floor plates between the building sections.

BSA agreed with 37 Bridge, finding that the building’s unique physical conditions created hardship and that rehabilitation for commercial or manufacturing use would not provide a reasonable return. BSA also found that its conversion to residential use would not alter the essential character of Vinegar Hill.

37 Bridge’s initial proposal for residential use included 60-units, a 1,200-square-foot courtyard and two additional stories atop the three- story portion of the building. BSA rejected the proposal and required that 37 Bridge remove the two additional stories. The developer submitted a revised plan for a 52-unit building without additional stories, but lacking accessory parking. It also provided a study showing that accessory parking was not feasible and a survey indicating sufficient off-street parking and mass transit to accommodate the new residential building.

BSA, recognizing the neighborhood’s increasing residential development, required that 37 Bridge obtain or lease 26 parking spaces for its residents’ use in garages or lots within a half-mile radius of the building. BSA also requested that 37 Bridge relocate a visually obtrusive external stairwell to the interior of the building; 37 Bridge agreed. Community Board 2 recommended approval of the residential conversion, and after an environmental study by BSA and DEP, a final plan was approved for a 52-unit structure that would not alter the building’s envelope.

BSA: 37 Bridge Street (269-04-BZ) (Howard Goldman, LLC, for owner). CITYADMIN

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