The two landmarked buildings on the west side of York Avenue between 64th and 65th Streets were models of affordable tenement housing, built in the early 20th century when this section of the Upper East Side along the East River was dotted with more giant fuel storage containers than hospitals. Now the building's owners, Stahl Real Estate, claim that owning 429 East 64th Street and 430 East 65th Street is an economic hardship and would like to tear down the six-floor walkups. The real estate group is arguing that it cannot make money on the buildings?potential rents are too low?and that by tearing down the two buildings it could build a more profitable building and better afford to maintain the other affordable housing properties it owns.
A consultant for Stahl Real Estate said that the company could not make even the City's allowed minimum 6% profit on the buildings because units would only rent for $600-$800 a month. Opponents of the company's destruction plan claim that the company could find renters for $1,500 a month if it wanted; and Stahl admits that it is purposefully allowing units to remain vacant. The two buildings were landmarked in 2006 based solely on their economic and social significance as models of affordable development, since Stahl replaced Beaux Arts-style exterior ornamentation with pink stucco.
Stahl filed its hardship petition with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the LPC is holding a hearing today to determine the future of that stretch of York Avenue, between 64th and 65th Streets.
· New Spat Over Upper East Side Rent [WSJ]
· Un-Landmarked Landmarks Get Their Status Back in Court [CurbedNY]
· Landlords Trying to Make Landmarks Less "Landmarked" on the UES [CurbedNY]