Sperone Westwater Gallery Fails to Block Ian Schrager’s 25-Story Hotel on Chrystie Street

Posted on: December 2nd, 2013 at 5:11 am by

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215 Chrystie Street, soon to sprout 25-story building

Hotelier Ian Schrager and a stable of investors purchased the 215 Chrystie parcel last year for $50 million. Their plans for the project site include a 25-story condo-hotel situation, where the first eighteen floors are reserved for lodging, and the remainder for residential (i.e. condos).

Community opposition to the development found a strange bedfellow in the Sperone Westwater Gallery back in January. The Bowery newcomer, itself a contributor to expedited change in the vicinity, spearheaded the charge against Schrager’s 289-foot skyscraper at 215 Chrystie. The well-connected showroom sued to try and stop the hotel-condo from happening. (Its ulterior motive, of course, was preventing the blockage of light into its own gallery)

What the gallery and other Lower East Side advocates argued was that the Board of Standards and Appeals failed to properly assess the environmental impact of such a large construction. As we know all too well,the influx of such large developments strains the already tired neighborhood infrastructure. How many more hotels can we really squeeze into such a tiny space?

The results are in, though, and it’s not pretty. The plaintiffs were unsuccessful. Court documents reveal that judge Michael D. Stallman ultimately denied the petition, in part, because the proposed amendment to the original 1982 variance (for the then-approved 9-story building) was deemed “minor,” constituting a “Type II” action in which environmental review was not necessary. Moreover, said amendment did not “change any of the conditions of the 1982 Variance pertaining to height and setback authorized by the variance, and construction of the new building will not create noncompliance.” It was further noted that the 25-story height does not “appear incongruous with the surrounding neighborhood.” Seriously?

In the meantime, Schrager’s team filed fresh DOB permits in early November for excavation activities and “superstructure work” at this address. The paperwork and the zoning approval are still pending with the city, sitting on the desk of the plan examiner.

Any day now, change is coming to upper Chrystie Street; change that will cast more unwanted shadows on Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Below is a copy of the final ruling, dated October 15:

215 Chrystie Ruling

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