The Real Deal New York

City shopping for developers for 125K sf Chinatown project

Economic Development Corp. puts out an RFP for 137 Centre St. 
By Rich Bockmann | February 18, 2015 03:35PM

The city is soliciting development proposals for a Downtown site that, with the purchase of air rights available from a nearby nonprofit, could accommodate a project of more than 125,000 buildable square feet.

The New York City Economic Development Corp. today released a request for proposals for a city-owned lot at 137 Centre Street in Chinatown.

“Community Board 1 has a population of over 61,000 residents, with continued growth expected in the coming years,” the request states. “While the district is affluent, with a median household income of nearly $105,000 and an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, there remains a strong need for affordable housing, as 21 percent of renter households are severely rent-burdened.”

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The property, which the city has owned since 1924, is home to a nine-story, 45,000-square-foot office building occupied by the police and sanitation departments.

The EDC is also acting as broker for the Downtown Community Television Center, a nonprofit that owns 74,370 square feet of development rights above a decommissioned firehouse directly behind 137 Centre Street.

While purchasing the air rights is not a requirement, the EDC said it “strongly prefers” proposals that would buy at least 95 percent of the excess rights, as well as those that include roughly 7,300 square feet of community space to be used for a universal pre-kindergarten program.