The Real Deal New York

Stahl builds case for replacing East Side landmark with new high-rises

January 09, 2012 08:30AM

Later this month the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hear the Stahl Organization’s “hardship application” case for razing a designated apartment building along York Avenue and replacing it with new residential development, DNAinfo reported.

In its application to the LPC, submitted in September, Stahl claims more than 100 of the 190 units in the building, at 429 East 64th Street, are vacant, and it would cost $2 million to get those apartments in shape for tenants. Stahl estimated the apartments, which average about 371 square feet, would generate $600 a month in rent and operate at a net loss of more than $500,000. But residents say those units are only vacant because Stahl has hoarded them in preparation of a demolition, and they dispute the estimated rent revenue for those units.

“You can’t even rent out your bathroom for as little as $600 a month in this area, even if you have to sleep in the bathtub and cook on a hot plate,” one resident said.

The address was first landmarked in 1990, but was stripped of the designation four months later, according to previously published reports. Stahl, which has owned the property since 1977, public records show, had begun forging plans to replace the building, but the LPC re-designated it in 2006. The property is part of the City and Suburban Homes First Avenue Estate complex, which was built between 1898 and 1915 and was among the first privately built affordable apartment houses that offered an alternative to tenement housing. [DNAinfo]

  • monjon22

    The Stahl Organization (run by co-Presidents Richard Czaja and Gregg Wolpert) never took any steps towards a plan to replace the buildings other than defacing them to prevent them from being re-landmarked in 2006. Since purchasing the property in 1977, the organization has taken out mortgages on the property as the value of the property increased. and used those funds to develop other properties in the city. They now would like to knock down the landmarked buildings, but to do so would have to prove that they are incapable of making a reasonable return – this is the hardship application. Unfortunately for Czaja and Wolpert, the buildings are money makers – not the big bucks that they could make with a luxury hi-rise – but a sufficient amount as determined by statute. Stahl’s hardship application states that at market rates apartments in the buildings would only bring in $600 a month rents after $4.5 (not $2 million as stated in this article) in repairs. Both the $600 and the $4.5 million dollar figures are ridiculous. Last night Manhattan Community Board 8 sent Stahl’s fancy Harvard-educated lawyer Paul Selver packing at a public hearing on the issue. Lets hope the Robert Tierney of the Landmarks Preservation Commission does the same on January 24 – at that public hearing.

    Monica McLaughlin