Things have been quiet at the Mary Help of Christians site ever since the 96-year-old church was torn down over the summer — and it looks like they’ll stay that way for now. The Department of Buildings has disapproved plans to build a 7-story building on the lot between East 11th and 12th Streets, off of Avenue A.
Doug Steiner, who bought the property for $41 million about a year ago, filed an application last month to erect a 157,864-square-foot building containing 158 residential units, 22 of which would have been considered affordable housing. Last week, Community Board 3’s Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing committee voted to unanimously support the inclusionary housing, public member Damaris Reyes told B+B.
An executive summary released ahead of the committee meeting provides some insight into Steiner’s plans.
The seven (7) story building will be “U” shaped, with interior units facing onto a landscaped courtyard. The building’s façade will be primarily comprised of brick, with metal panel at the penthouse setback level and storefront at the ground floor retail. The building will have residential apartments on all floors, including garden apartments on the cellar level. The first floor apartments will be elevated approximately 3’ above grade, and will be accessible not only by stairs but also by a rear-opening elevator. Approximately 10,000 square feet at the first floor and 8,000 square feet in the cellar are reserved for retail use. To enliven the courtyard façade and offer outdoor space, twenty-five (25) of the courtyard units will have balconies, five (5) of which will be IH Units.
The entrance to the building will be on East 12th Street, and the building will be staffed 24 hours a day by a concierge. Loading and move-ins will take place through a service corridor and entrance on Avenue A. Resident amenities will be housed in the cellar, opening to a landscaped courtyard, and on the top roof of the building. The amenities program is currently contemplated to include a fitness center and lounge in the cellar, as well as a swimming pool and landscaped deck on the roof.
Rooftop baptisms, anyone?
The summary claims that Steiner & Co. “intend to obtain a private construction loan in the amount of $82,000,000 to $92,000,000.” If everything goes according to plan, the building will take 20 months to complete.
But Steiner hit a roadblock Nov. 8, when the Department of Buildings rejected an application for a new building permit, according to documents on the DOB’s website.
“We’re not sure if it’s simple paperwork problems or a building violation of some sort,” said Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Neither Steiner nor the job applicant could be reached for comment, and the DOB couldn’t say why it rejected the application. (Update: Steiner declined to comment, via a rep.)
In any case, it’s probably just a hiccup, Berman said. “It’s a shame, but the cold hard fact is that Mr. Steiner now has the right to build a residential development there. But we’ll be watching everything closely and report any issues or discrepancies to the DOB.”