LES collective files new building plans

TRD New York /
Aug.August 01, 2008 03:25 PM

Plans for a new four-story building on the Lower East Side for the artists collective and community center ABC No Rio were officially filed yesterday with the Department of Buildings.

The filing is an early step in the process and the plans have yet to be approved, according to the DOB Web site.

Construction for the new facility at 156 Rivington Street was expected to begin in late 2009 or early 2010, said the nonprofit’s director, Steven Englander.

ABC No Rio fought for years to acquire the once-vacant building from the city. The group now hosts performances, art classes and gallery exhibitions at the building, located between Suffolk and Clinton streets. It bought the structure for $1 in 2006 from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The nonprofit, founded in 1980, proposes to demolish the four-story, 5,000-square-foot building and replace it with a four-story, 6,200-square foot building, Erlanger said. 

“It has been rough going. We don’t have a board of high-rollers to bail us out,” Erlanger said.

The collective has raised about $1 million of the $3 million needed for the new building, including a $500,000 grant from the Manhattan borough president’s office.

Erlanger said it was unusual that a nonprofit that has fought gentrification on the Lower East Side has managed to construct a new building.

A year ago, the group decided to build a new building instead of rehabilitate the old one, which has a foundation dating back to the 1800s and was rebuilt in 1917.

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