Bond Street Bind

Rendering of 363-371 Lafayette.

Community Board 2 tentatively approved a plan for the development of 363-371 Layfayette Street last night, with several stipulations that the board hopes will preserve light and space for the adjoining building at 20 Bond Street, where legendary artist Chuck Close has a studio.

Tenants at 20 Bond Street and the developer 363-371 Layfayette Street, Olmstead Propeties, have been in negotiations for months concerning the new development. Aided by big guns from the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art who wrote letters supporting Mr. Close and 20 Bond Street’s other tenants, the tenants and the developer are negotiating a mutually beneficial plan that will allow the building to be developed while preserving light for the next-door property.

An attorney for the tenants addressed the board last night and said the negotiations are nearly finished, yet declined to state what any sticking points might remain. Apparently satisfied, the board approved the variance request, with a few modifications.

The developers asked for variances to change the ground floor to retail and the upper floors to residential, which is not allowed in the M1-5B (manufacturing) district, and an increase of floor-area ratio to 5.5, up from 5.0.

In its resolution, the board recommended to permit the retail use of the ground floor, but not to change the upper floors to residential use–instead, it urged the developers to use the upper floors as “joint living-work quarters,” with each unit required to be 1,200 square feet, eliminating the balconies from the design (to preserve light and privacy in 20 Bond Street), and that negotiations continue with 20 Bond Street, resulting in a binding agreement.

The community board’s decision is, of course, strictly advisory. The Board of Standards and Appeals must sign off on the plans before work starts.

For further info, check out The Villager‘s extensive coverage here and here.

-Matthew Grace Bond Street Bind