Tower Could Rise High on 14th Street and Avenue C Corner Lot


A 10,106-square-foot corner lot that has long provoked speculation about the development potential of East 14th Street is being exclusively marketed for sale by Avison Young, The Commercial Observer has learned. And a near-absence of height restrictions has brokers dangling the possibility of a tower on a site with 65,689 square feet of development rights.

Neil Helman and Charles Kingsley of Avison Young’s capital markets group are the sales agents for 644 East 14th Street, which is currently occupied by a vacant one-story building. The site could hold a 65,689-square-foot as-of-right mixed-use development. There are an additional 70,000 square feet worth of unused development rights from properties to the west of the parcel.

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644 East 14th Street, highlighted
644 East 14th Street, highlighted

Back in early 2008, a few months before the bottom fell out of the economy, Massey Knakal began to quietly market the building–then home to a R&S Strauss auto parts shop–for $13 million. Curbed, noting the “storefront ghost town” that East 14th Street had become at the time, breathlessly speculated that the sale of the building would determine the future of the entire strip and might, somehow, turn it into a sort of Meatpacking District East.

The sale closed the following January, but the lot is still up for grabs, and the intersection of 14th Street and Avenue C remains an unglamorous one, with Stuy Town hulking above it to the north and the Con Ed plant (whose blown transformers birthed the post-Sandy blackout) eerily looming to the east.

The western properties with those 70,000 square feet of development rights span 626 and 642 East 14th Street. They can be incorporated into the site through a zoning lot merger. That could lead to two massive residential or mixed-use developments on the northern border of Alphabet City. An eight-lot parcel between 504 and 530 East 14th Street has been the source of much (sometimes fretful) speculation. On EV Grieve, curiosity regarding the “yet-unspecified” development kicked into a higher gear on Monday with news of noted dive bar Blarney Cove’s imminent closure at 510 East 14th Street.

Mr. Helman in a prepared statement said the lot was “ideally suited for a multitude of uses, including residential, retail, and community facility use.” He added that the location “on two wide streets with virtually no restrictions on height limitations is also highly advantageous, enabling a tower to be erected, which would take advantage of the great East River views.”

Mr. Helman could not be reached by phone for comment. But he did write in an email that Avison Young expects a price tag in the mid-$20 million range.