These developers could benefit the most from Soho’s rezoning

Analysis is based on the city’s blueprint

From left: Edison Properties CEO Robert Selsam, Ironstate Development's Michael Barry, Stellar Management founder Larry Gluck (LinkedIn; Gluck Family Foundation)
From left: Edison Properties CEO Robert Selsam, Ironstate Development's Michael Barry, Stellar Management founder Larry Gluck (LinkedIn; Gluck Family Foundation)

Sandwiched between two apartment buildings, a one-story, windowless warehouse on Thompson Street has been slated for demolition for more than five years. In that time, developers have planned to transform the property into a boutique condominium and then, when it changed hands last year, into a 10-story commercial building.

But the plan for 30 Thompson Street may shift again if the latest owner decides to take advantage of the proposed rezoning of Soho and Noho.

“We bought the site to do office, which is as-of-right use. We weren’t seeking any variances or anything,” said Dan Hollander, president of DHA Capital, which owns the site. “Given the opportunity to incorporate more FAR as of right, and residential, we’re certainly going to give that a look.”

Many property owners in the area may soon be presented with a similar opportunity. The city is seeking to rezone 56 blocks across Soho and Noho, which would lift restrictions on retail and residential use in the area. The City Planning Commission has identified 27 sites that could be developed over the next decade, netting 1,683 apartments (with as many as 494 deemed affordable), 57,473 square feet of retail and 19,598 square feet of community space.

If the owners of these properties have post-rezoning plans, they are largely keeping them under wraps. Some say they are simply in the early stages of reconsidering the future of their sites. But these five landlords stand to benefit the most from the rezoning, in terms of the volume of hypothetical development over the next 10 years.

Edison Properties

The New Jersey-based developer and parking garage operator is well positioned to take advantage of the rezoning. At least two of its parking lots are within the area targeted by the city; one of those, at 204 Hester Street, falls within a subdistrict that would allow the largest residential and commercial density. All told, the company could develop nearly 400,000 square feet across its properties on Lafayette and Great Jones streets, according to the city’s analysis.

Anthony Borelli, Edison’s vice president for planning and real estate, said that while the company is supportive of the city’s efforts, it doesn’t have any “immediate development plans.”

Opponents of the rezoning have criticized the firm due to the fact that Borelli sits on the board of the pro-development nonprofit Citizens Housing and Planning Council, which has promoted the rezoning.

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Centre Plaza LLC, Stellar Management and City Urban Realty

Three adjacent parcels, bounded by Canal, Centre, Lafayette and Howard Streets, could be combined to yield 280,000 square feet of new development, a majority of which would be residential, according to the draft scope of work.

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Two of the sites — 3 Howard Street and 239 Canal Street — are owned by Centre Plaza LLC, which is controlled by developer Alexander Chu. A property manager at Centre, Marla Zelenka, said in an email that those properties are “fully rented,” and there are no plans to redevelop them at this time.

The third site, an office building at 243 Canal Street, was purchased by Stellar Management and City Urban Realty in 2016 for $25 million. A representative for City Urban didn’t return a request seeking comment.

Soho rezoning

Diehl Realty

A parking garage at 356 West Broadway could yield nearly 139,000 square feet of new development, according to the city. Of that, roughly 129,000 square feet could be residential, and another 10,000 square feet could be set aside for commercial use. In this scenario, there would be 131 apartments of which 26 to 39 would be affordable. The owner, a New Jersey-based parking company couldn’t be reached for comment.

Kaufman Organization

At 257 Canal Street, more than 110,000 square feet of new development, nearly all of which would be residential, could replace a two-story commercial building owned by the Kaufman Organization. The landlord didn’t respond to a request seeking information about the site.

CB Development, Ironstate Development and SK Development

Last October, CB Development bought a $59.5 million stake in 358 Bowery, the home of B Bar & Grill, from hotelier Eric Goode. Over the last few years, Goode has amassed air rights from neighboring properties, according to PincusCo, paving the way for a much larger development on the site. Ironstate Development and SK Development inked a ground lease at the property in December 2019, city records show, and the developers plan to bring a 100,000-square-foot office building to the site.

Ironstate’s Michael Barry said the plans aren’t disrupted by the prospect of the rezoning.

“We are essentially sticking with the current plan that we have,” he said. “Not that it isn’t an exciting theoretical.”

The city’s vision for the site includes 107,750 square feet of residential space and nearly 9,000 square feet of retail.