Back in 2011, the Wall Street Journal predicted the demise of the Bowery’s Lighting District, a strip of wholesale light stores beginning south of Delancey Street in the borderlands between the Lower East Side and Little Italy. Now three of those shops will bite the dust to make way for an eight-story residential and hotel project at 138 Bowery, situated mid-block between Broome and Grand Streets.
New building applications filed yesterday call for an 84-foot-tall building with 64 hotel rooms and 21 apartments. Retail and the hotel lobby will fill the ground floor, followed by 10 to 12 rooms each on the second through fifth floors. The sixth through eighth floors will be devoted to residential, and each floor will host seven apartments.
There will be 30,825 square feet of commercial space and just 13,859 square feet for residential, yielding average apartments of just 659 square feet.
This developer gets more bang for their buck by including a hotel, because this area’s zoning allows nearly twice as much commercial as residential space in a new building. The structure would be taller if it weren’t located in the Special Little Italy District, where city rules cap new developments at a height of 85 feet.
But it’s unclear exactly who the developer is, or the architect. The representative listed on the permits is John Young, managing agent of an LLC headquartered on 10th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. The developer behind the LLC appears to be Emmut Properties, which is also expanding a residential building in Harlem. Engineering firm Schneider Associates applied for the permit.
Sadly, the existing trio of three-story storefronts with apartments are some of the oldest on the Bowery. Bedford + Bowery noticed the demolition applications for 134-138 Bowery in May, and point out that the two Federal-style buildings date back as far as 1798, according to the state’s Historic Preservation Office.