LES gallery sues to block controversial Ian Schrager, Ruby Schron development

By David Jones | January 21, 2013 06:30PM

A Lower East Side art gallery has gone to court to block a proposed 25-story hotel and condominium project developed by Ian Schrager and Ruben Schron, arguing that an environmental review is needed. Sperone Westwater Gallery, itself a relative newcomer to the area, has opposed the development on the grounds that the proposed hotel would be twice as tall as any other building in the neighborhood and hurt the property values of the gallery by blocking out existing sunlight.

In a complaint filed Jan. 10 in New York State Supreme Court, the gallery argued that the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals should have ordered an environmental review before approving the plan.

The 146-unit mixed-use tower at 10 Stanton Street, between the Bowery and Chrystie Street, would be 289 feet high and have 195,000 square feet of space, and lawyers claim it would cast shadows across the adjacent Sarah Delano Roosevelt Park and the nearby Liz Christy Community Garden.

Schron, founder of privately held Cammeby’s International Group, helped secure approval for the project from Community Board 3 in September when a deal was reached to extend affordable housing to residents until 2035.

Schrager was part of an investment group that paid $50 million to purchase the site in December, with plans for a 17-story hotel plus condos. The property will reportedly become one of Schrager’s Public brand of boutique hotels.

New York-based Handels International is scheduled to design the property.

The proposed tower has faced severe community opposition, including from artists such as Kiki Smith and Chuck Close, as well as preservation groups such as the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and the Bowery Stanton Block Association.

Schron, Schrager, lawyers for Sperone Westwater and BSA officials were not immediately available for comment.

A court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8.