Five alteration plans, 1,300 units: the largest residential alterations in the past year

By Atticus O’Brien-Pappalardo

Over the previous year there have been several significant residential conversion and expansion projects filed around the city. There have been 33 projects filed which call for the addition of at least 20 residential units. Those 33 projects totaled to call for the addition of 2,322 dwelling units.

PincusCo looked at the “ALT-CO – New Building with Existing Elements to Remain” and “Alteration CO” projects that called for the greatest increase of residential dwelling units.

The NYC DOB defines “ALT-CO – New Building with Existing Elements to Remain” jobs as Alterations which are required to meet New Building requirements. The job type was created as the DOB rolled out the DOB NOW platform last year.

Industry experts told PincusCo that “ALT-CO – New Building with Existing Elements to Remain” jobs are filed on a case by case matter. In some instances the developer may decide it is an easier avenue to receive permits, in other cases it may cut costs, by not having to demolish the existing structure or rebuild a foundation. Another factor is that the resulting tax obligations could be less by leaving the foundation in place.

Another source said that oftentimes the plans are filed because the existing structure is overbuilt, and depending upon the amount of the building that remains, developers are able to build it bigger than they could with a traditional ground-up new building.

The five largest residential alteration projects called for the addition of nearly 1,300 residential dwelling units. Three of the projects were in Manhattan, one was in Staten Island, and one was in Brooklyn.

The largest plans were filed by Vanbarton Group on November 16, 2021. The project called for the conversion of an office building to a 592-unit residential building at 160 Water Street in Financial District, Manhattan.

According to the plans, following the conversion, floors two through 27 of the building will each have 22 dwelling units per floor. The 28th floor will have a terrace and amenity space, while floors 29 and 30 will each have seven dwelling units.

The second largest plans were filed by Hawkins Way Capital on February 3, 2022. The plans called for the conversion of an existing hotel building to a residential building with 307 dwelling units at 569 Lexington Avenue in Plaza District, Manhattan. The developer purchased the hotel condo from RLJ Lodging Trust for $146 million earlier in the year. Per the plans, job number M00652997, the building will also have a lounge and fitness center.

Madison Realty Capital filed the third largest plans on April 15 of this year. The project aimed to convert a 55,000-square-foot retail complex into a 132,683-square-foot, 185-unit mixed-use building at 364 Bay Street in Thompkinsville, Staten Island. Zachary Kadden, managing director of development at Madison Realty Capital, filed the plans.

The fourth largest plans were filed by Metropolitan Realty Exemption Services on April 14 of this year. The project called for the conversion of a two-story parking garage to a seven-story residential building with 112 dwelling units at 673 Saint Nicholas Avenue in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. Yitzchok Joseph filed the plans. The plans called for the change in use and increase in size of the building from a 29-foot tall, two-story parking garage to an 85-foot tall, seven-story, residential building with 112 dwelling units. This was filed with the New York City Department of Buildings under job number M00718100.

Rounding out the top five are plans filed by Scott Pedowitz on February 3 of this year. The plans called for a vertical addition in the form of 96 residential units to an existing one-story commercial building at 526 Baltic Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

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