An update on 183 East Broadway, the stalled “sliver” building that was idled by the Department of Buildings in early 2009. The owner has come before Community Board 3 at least five times in recent months, seeking support for a variance to complete the 7-story apartment building.
The developer, Wai Sun Realty, says it didn’t know 183 East Broadway was too big for the lot — and the Buildings Department didn’t raise any red flags until months after construction began. In the past CB3 has refused to offer an opinion. But this past week, the zoning & housing committee forwarded a draft resolution to the full board. It reads:
Whereas CB #3 Land Use & Housing Committee has had extensive deliberations on the requested variance for 183 E. Broadway, and Whereas 183 E. Broadway has numerous zoning violations and is unfinished, an eyesore and a blight on the community due to its non-completion, and Whereas the owner has stated that the development initially received DOB approval after 8 meetings, and later after construction was underway, DOB’s decision was determined to be incorrect, and Whereas the CB #3 Committee is uncomfortable that there is considerable uncertainty about the DOB rulings and want this matter reviewed in the correct forum – Board of Standards and Appeals, and Whereas the CB #3 Committee is concerned that our position on this particular variance not set a precedent for other housing development in the neighborhood, and Whereas the CB #3 Committee acknowledges that the owner has a long history in the community as a provider of jobs, and when asked to provide some community benefits responded affirmatively by offering to rent the community facility space, the building’s basement and first floor, to a not-for-profit organization at an agreed upon below market rent, and Whereas the CB#3 Committee urges transparency in the selection of the not-for-profit for the community facility space, and requests the owner consider a longer term lease than 10 years and/or the right to renew after 10 years with similar terms, Therefore the CB#3 Committee recommends that the full Community Board #3 approve the requested variance for 183 E. Broadway.
(This is a draft resolution and has not yet been voted on by Community Board 3. This may be changed, adopted, or denied)
The full CB3 board will vote October 26th. It is up to the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) to decide whether a variance will be granted. The community board’s approval is not required, but is one of many factors the BSA considers in making its decisions.
The design of this building is an offense. I appreciate that a construction site is an eyesore and it should be resolved, and it’s nice that CB3 got a reduced rent for a non profit — if the owners actually follow through after they’ve finished their building — but the owners’ plan violated the law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, as anyone knows. And that assumes they really didn’t know. Were the blueprints drawn by a four-year-old child instead of an acredited architect?
Take a look at what they’ve already built. This is development without planning, development with utter disregard for community, development ignorant of design and skoffing of the law. It’s development for a fast buck and bucking the law is what development seems to be all about.
This is a complete affront to the community and an insult to everyone’s intelligence. The builder “did not know”?
Please. Please. They are developer/builders, it is the very essence of their business “to know” about parcels and their development potential. Complicit, and IMO totally responsible, as usual, is the DOB. The DOB is and has always been a disreputable “department” of the City.
See “District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau vs Joseph Napolitano, et al”, Supreme Court NY County, a matter of public record, for proof of this assertion. Basically, all one needed to do for many, many years, was to to hire an “expediter” and bring a large envelope filled with cash to the DOB in order to get permitting or approval for basically anything. Open your eyes folks and look at what hideous buildings have been stuffed into tiny lots and just about anywhere else over the past 10 years. Ridiculous and disgusting.
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