Mets owner fights with Chelsea locals over “McMansion” plan

Sterling Equities wants to add 2K sf to townhouse at 334 West 20th St., extending into backyard

Mr. Met and 334 West 20th Street in Chelsea
Mr. Met and 334 West 20th Street in Chelsea

There’s another battle brewing between the Chelsea locals who want their tree-lined neighborhood to stay exactly how it is, and the developers who want to expand.

This time the standoff is between Sterling Equities [TRDataCustom], a consortium of real estate, sports and media companies that owns the New York Mets, and the Chelsea community board and residents.

The place in question is 334 West 20th Street, which is currently 4,600 square feet and comprised of four apartments. Sterling Equities wants to turn it into one single-family home by adding 2,200 square feet, a set back fourth story and putting further extensions that go into the back yard, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Sterling’s plan was rejected last month by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, but the firm has gone back to the drawing board and will present a new idea to the commission on Tuesday, according to the newspaper.

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Back in July the commission approved plans to turn one of the oldest homes in the Chelsea historic district into what was described as a “megamansion” by preservationists. Plans at 404 West 20th Street were revised before the commission gave it the green light.

Preservationists say Sterling Equities’ plan is in keeping with a trend. “There is a very specific formula: Extend the rear out and built out as far as you can and build bulk on the roof,” Kelly Carroll, of the group Historic Districts Council, told the Journal.

Sterling Equities says the house, purchased in 2015 for $8.5 million, is an investment property.

But Adam Leitman Bailey, the attorney for the next door neighbor to 334 West 20th Street, said he believes the house is slated for a Sterling Equities executive. He’s happy the plan has not yet been given the green light. “Now the owners can spend more money on the Mets rather than building a McMansion in a neighborhood where it doesn’t belong.” [WSJ]  — Miriam Hall