A shelved Sunset Park development that caused controversy over its size in 2007 is back — and bigger than ever.
Developers are resurrecting the plan to build a massive mixed-use development called Eighth Avenue Center at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 62nd Street. The lot’s new owner is going bigger, but he said the mix of residential and shopping won’t put a burden on area streets and transit.
“We’re trying to minimize impact to the adjacent area,” said architect Raymond Chan. “We want to keep the traffic within the building itself. All loading and parking will be underground.”
Plans call for a three-story Chelsea Market-style retail space to cover the entire site, which is equivalent to about three football fields. Rising from that base will be a 150-room hotel standing about 10 stories, two 15-story residential towers with a combined 350 apartments, and an office tower standing 17 stories, Chan said.
A public green space and sculpture garden will cover exposed sections of the retail building’s roof, and a library, computer lab, and space for a pre-kindergarten program will serve the area’s burgeoning immigrant population, he said.
The area is zoned for manufacturing, but the previous owner secured a variance in 2007 to designate the lot C4-2 and C4-2A — allowing a mixed-use building with a total floor area roughly six times the lot’s size, city records show.
Most buildings in the area top out at four stories, and the project would dwarf even the tallest nearby structures, which stand eight stories at most.
In 2007, developer Andrew Kohen owned the site and asked Community Board 10 to support a variance that would let him build an 11-story apartment complex and a Home Depot on the lot, but the board panned the proposal as being out-of-scale for the neighborhood.
But the community board, which is only an advisory body to the city, ultimately relented, giving the project its blessing with the provision that 20 percent of the apartments be rented below market rate. Ultimately Kohen abandoned plans for the project in 2008, citing the poor economic climate.
Kohen sold the lot to Chan and a consortium of developers for $51.5 million earlier this year, property records show. The land is adjacent to the Sea Beach Line’s Eighth Avenue Station and the N Train, which has seen a surge in ridership in the last decade as the area’s population swelled.
To build the project, Chan needs to renew the variance Kohen obtained, but he has not yet formally submitted plans to the city or the community board, said CB10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann. The board’s zoning and land use committee has met with the developer’s attorney and will address the project when Chan submits plans, said zoning committee chairwoman Ann Falutico.