Queens developer moving ahead with 155-unit Kips Bay resi tower development

Air rights, rezoning allow project to more than double in size

339-345 East 33rd Street (Credit: GF55)
339-345 East 33rd Street (Credit: GF55)

After years spent assembling lots and maximizing allowed construction area, Mikhael Heletz’s Excel Development Group is ready to move ahead with its 23-story residential project in Kips Bay, according to city filings.

The Forest Hills-based developer plans to build a 155-unit, 123,000-square-foot tower covering the four adjacent lots at 339-345 East 33rd Street. Excel began acquiring the lots in August 2015, closing on the last parcel in December for $11.2 million.

Also in December, Excel closed on an air rights deal with neighboring 337 East 33rd Street, buying over 12,000 square feet of development rights from the five-story apartment building for $2.75 million.

According to industry insiders, Manhattan air rights prices have declined significantly over the past year, despite increased housing interest in the area.

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Last May, Israeli developer Minrav Development paid $64 million for a development site at 368 Third Avenue, two blocks away from the Excel project site.
In early 2018, Excel’s project also received support from Department of City Planning and City Council, who approved a rezoning that would effectively double the amount of construction allowed on the assemblage.

The project will include 6,400 square feet of ground floor retail, and 40 of the project’s 155 units will be permanently affordable, with the remaining 115 being market rate.

New York-based architecture firm GF55 Partners is designing the project. [PincusCo] — Kevin Sun