Some Small Boxes, and Maybe a Big Box

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Community Board 2 approved a couple of new developments last night at its monthly meeting.

Most interesting, architectural-wise, is developer Global Building Modules’ project at 372 Lafayette Street at the corner of Great Jones Street. The proposed six-story building will have a red metal structural frame housing prefabricated modular boxes, similar to shipping containers. There will be eight units above first-floor retail. Details are sketchy, but it looks like three units will have somewhat less than 1,200 square feet, and the remaining five will be somewhat larger.

GBM needs a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals because the lot is currently zoned for manufacturing, in which residential and ground-floor retail uses are not permitted. Additionally, the proposed building will exceed the floor-area ratio by .01, according to community-board documents.

GBM is claiming hardship because of the proximity of a subway line at the site, and the narrow width of the lot. The developer has pledged not to permit advertising on the building, nor will a bar or restaurant lease the first-floor retail space.

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Next up, the board voiced no objections to a variance request for a new building at 408-414 West 13th Street/13-15 Little West 12th Street. The five-story building will be a commercial-condo development for floors two through five, and the first floor will be retail, what real-estate firm RKF calls an “incredible big box opportunity” with frontage on both West 13th and Little West 12th Street–“the only building in the heart of the meatpacking district with frontage on two streets.”

The developer is seekng a variance from the B.S.A. on the rear-yard requirement in an M1-5 zone, claiming that construction-loan costs would be prohibitive.

The B.S.A. still has to vote on both these projects before the variances are granted, and the community board’s decision is strictly advisory.

-Matthew Grace

Some Small Boxes, and Maybe a Big Box