Mahfar Receives $39.5 Million Loan For Controversial Project at 255 East Houston St.

255 East Houston St.

255 East Houston St.

Earlier this week, Commercial Observer reported that Lower East developer Samy Mahfar secured a $39.5 million construction loan from Bank of the Ozarks for a new residential building at 255 East Houston St.

In the story, the project was described as a 14-story property with 88 apartments and 6,258 square feet of community facility space.

During the past few years, Mahfar has tangled with Community Board 3 and City Council member Rosie Mendez over this site, which formerly housed a low-income daycare center. Mendez blocked Mahfar’s proposal to change the zoning on East Houston Street, which would have allowed him to put a restaurant or retail business on the ground floor. Under current zoning, only community facilities (medical offices, schools, etc.) are allowed.

According to work permits from the Department of Buildings, the project covers 69,545 square feet and includes 88 apartments.

Mahfar’s attorney went before Community Board 3’s land use committee in October of 2016. He sought, but was denied, the board’s support for an application for inclusionary housing. Mahfar had already received 421a tax breaks to build some affordable units, but he was also seeking a floor area bonus through the city’s inclusionary housing program. We don’t know as of yet whether the city ultimately approved the application.

Mahfar’s SMA Equities did not respond to a request for comment from Commercial Observer. He has not replied to us, either.

255 East Houston