R&E Overcomes Opposition By Community Board And Borough President To Secure Difficult Zoning Approval for Special Permits Enabling Penthouse Enlargement and Ground Floor Retail Use

City Planning Commission, Decided February 17, 2021
Featuring Frank E. Chaney

Rosenberg & Estis secured two difficult zoning approvals that will allow a penthouse enlargement and ground floor retail use in two SoHo properties despite opposition from the local Community Board and the Manhattan Borough President’s office. The City Planning Commission approved, and both the City Council and the Mayor accepted, special permits for 61-63 Crosby Street and 5 Mercer Street.

The City Planning Commission approved R&E’s two applications, which then underwent a 25-day period during which the City Council and the Mayor had the option to overturn the approvals. Neither did, so the City Planning Commission approvals became final. Both properties applied for a ZR §74-711 Special Permit, 61-63 Crosby Street to allow retail use on the ground floor and cellar, and 5 Mercer Street to allow the penthouse enlargement of the building containing artist’s lofts and use of the ground floor and cellar as retail stores. Under the current SoHo zoning rules, both the enlargement and ground floor retail are prohibited except by special permit, an arduous two-year process.