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Why 3 Sites Have Stalled Amid NYC's Development Boom

With all the new projects going up across the city, it doesn't seem as often these days that news of stalled construction is spread. But that doesn't mean sites of arrested developments aren't still numerous—there are 530, to be exact, that appear on the city's Stalled Sites list which was created in 2009 during the recession. The list is now used by well-financed developers like Extell and Toll Brothers who can have their pick of the adverse sites. The Real Deal took a look at the largest stalled sites across Manhattan and Brooklyn, including the Puck Building-adjacent eyesore at 49 East Houston Street, and the Greenpoint Avenue site of a Karl Fischer building that never came to be (TG). For more, read on.

1) 96 Greenwich Street: The former site of Financial District strip club The Pussycat Lounge and one of the oldest buildings in the area dating back some 200 years, the three-and-a-half story building between Rector and Carlisle streets was put on the Stalled Sites list in 2011, the same year the lounge closed. Here's why: In 2008, the building's owner sold its 22,000 excess square feet of development rights to hotelier Sam Chang, who planned on erecting a hotel at the neighboring 98-100 Greenwich Street. Robert Kremer purchased the building for $2.5 million in 2008, one year before it was denied a landmark designation. Kremer filed permits to add two floors to the building, but months after gaining permits the site was issued stop-work and vacate orders. Kremer bought back the rights the previous owner sold to Chang for $575,000 in October 2012. Kremer has since taken out a $4.3 million loan for the property and plans to finish the two half-erected floors. Kremer is looking for tenants.

2) 49 East Houston Street: The 25-foot-wide lot was picked up by Michael Hirtenstein and Sean Largotta in 2008 for $5.5 million. The duo planned to erect a 14-story, 41-apartment very cantilevered building designed by Arpad Baksa using air rights purchased from neighboring sites, but financial disputes brought the plan to its knees and the site to the list in 2011. Adding to the disagreements between the two partners (Hirtenstein sued Largotta for $3 million-plus in 2009), architect Baksa sued the developers in 2010 seeking some $40,000 of unpaid fees. To add insult to injury, Steve Stollman, who sold the site to the pair thinking he would garner an interest in the completed building, sued Hirtenstein and Largotta for $9 million in 2014. This eyesore just east of the Puck Building is hurtin'.

3) 50 Greenpoint Avenue: With all the construction surrounding the site that's adjacent from WNYC Transmitter Park, it would be a good time for this stalled project to kick back into gear. If only it were that simple. The site at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and West Street was purchased for $4.3 million in 2006 by a group of investors who planned on erecting a six-story, 44-apartment condo building designed by Karl Fischer. The site officially became stalled in 2009; presumably the project came to a stand-still amidst the time's economic climate. In July 2013, new building permits were issued for the site, but the plans were revoked in February. Sorry, Karl, doesn't seem like your ubiquitous vision will come to be anytime soon.

For more coverage of the five largest stalled development sites in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, head on over to The Real Deal.
· Seizing on Stalled Sites [TRD]
· Stalled Sites [official]