East Harlem rezoning plan could benefit unpopular landlords

Rezoning could add 3,500 new residential units
June 13, 2017 09:06AM

East Harlem

The rezoning of East Harlem could add 3,500 new apartments to the neighborhood, but some unpopular landlords could be among the biggest beneficiaries of the change.

In April, the City Planning Commission kickstarted the land review process to rezone 96 blocks in the neighborhood. The plan, which offers density bonuses in exchange for affordable housing, would increase the development potential for at least 50 properties, and some critics are concerned that the landlords eligible for development bonuses have otherwise neglected the neighborhood, Crain’s reported.

For instance, Ross & Ross has been accused of neglecting a series of vacant and boarded-up walk-ups Along Third Avenue for several years. Under the rezoning, the Ross family could add more than 400 units to the properties. But it’s not clear if the rezoning will be enough to motivate the landlord to revamp their properties.

Large developers L+M Development Partners and BFC Partners own several sites in the neighborhood. But many of the properties in the rezoning area are owned by small businesses and nonprofits. Housing nonprofit Nuevo El Barrio is suing L + M Over 1680 Madison Avenue, a rental property that the nonprofit claims it has the right to buy before the developer. The owners of an Upper East Side grocery store, Grace’s Marketplace, Own An Office Building On Park Avenue that could add 127 residential units under the rezoning.

“We run our business out of that location, so we’re not looking to do anything as of yet,” Joseph Doria Jr., whose family owns the company, told Crain’s. “If someone gave us a nice offer, though, we ’d have something to think about.” [Crain’s]Kathryn Brenzel