Benenson, Mack may have to eat “extraordinary construction costs” at East Village site after all

The companies withdrew a variance application for their proposed development at 432 East 14th Street

Renderings of 432 East 14th Street (Credit: Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Click to enlarge)
Renderings of 432 East 14th Street (Credit: Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Click to enlarge)

Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate have again backtracked on plans to develop an East Village site.

After complaining that $4.6 million worth of “extraordinary construction costs” from poor ground conditions at 432 East 14th Street would “make a complying development infeasible,” the developers withdrew an application that would have allowed them to build higher than zoning regulations allow.

The proposed development at 432 E. 14th Street will therefore have to go on without the additional income from a larger building.

The move comes after Benenson [TRDataCustom] and Mack pared back their initial plans earlier this month in response to community pressure.

According to the revised application  submitted on March 10, current zoning laws allow the developers to construct a mixed-use Building With Eight Stories On The East 13th Street side and seven stories on the East 14th Street side. The structure would include 23 affordable and 90 market-rate residential units on 87,813 square feet of residential space. Prior plans filed earlier this month called for a 12-story mixed-use building totaling 155 residential units with 31 apartments designated as affordable.

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A larger development was necessary, the developers argued, to increase profitability and make up for added construction costs stemming from “[u]nusually elevated groundwater levels and exceedingly soft and unstable soil.” Both developments would cost over $100 million, Benenson and Mack estimate.

In a statement, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), celebrated the news of the developers dropping the variance request.

GVSHP disputed the developers’ “hardship” claim regarding ground conditions, arguing that neighboring properties did not receive a variance.

In a statement, a spokesperson for building ownership wrote, “It is unfortunate that we were not able to deliver even more affordable units to the community, as we had hoped to do.”