Volume 74, Number 34 | December 29 - January 04, 2004


Villager photo by Jennifer Bodrow

The new building at 81 E. Third St. towers over its neighbors.

E. Third St. ‘half-dorm’ granted still more time to produce lease

By Lincoln Anderson

The so-called “half-dorm” on E. Third St. that Community Board 3 and neighbors have slammed the Department of Buildings for allowing to be built without a signed lease for an institutional tenant in place has again been granted additional time to come up with some answers.

Speaking on Dec. 20, Jennifer Givner, a Buildings spokesperson, said, “The department has conducted an audit of the job application — we’ve basically put the applicant on notice that we have additional objections. The applicant has a period of time,” Givner said, to address all the objections — including the lack of an institutional tenant. “They have 10 business days to address these objections,” Givner said. Only certain types of tenants — such as a university or medical facility — are allowed to justify the developer’s use of the community-facilities zoning allowance, which developers use to increase their buildings’ size.

While Givner said revoking the permit for the building is an option, she said she could not speculate on what might happen.

In mid-November, D.O.B. gave the development group, led by Alex Lokshin, a 30-day extension to present a lease for the building’s community-facility space. Previous to that, D.O.B. gave the developer a letter asking them to produce a lease within 10 days.

Located next to the Hell’s Angels clubhouse, the building is 13 stories — six stories were planned for dormitory use by a local university, topped by seven stories of residential apartments.

Concerned about disproportionately large buildings appearing on the East Village’s low-rise side streets, neighbors and community board members were beside themselves with frustration watching the building reach 13 stories, despite the fact that a lease for a university tenant did not exist. The other buildings on the block are only six stories.

“The real question is — will Buildings force them to take the building down?” noted Richard Kusack, a neighbor. Kusack, who has experience in real estate development, said if no action is taken, he may personally write a letter to D.O.B. asking them to revoke the permit. If nothing happens, he would next contact the Board of Standards and Appeals. He said litigation may be an option.

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