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Controversial Landlord Wants a Height Increase for LES Building

The developer is seeking to rezone the property to allow for more commercial use as well

A controversial Lower East Side developer is looking to build a mixed-use project in the neighborhood that could be as high as 13 stories and have 63 apartments, Bowery Boogie reports. Samy Mahfar, who has previously been embroiled in tenant harassment cases at his other Lower East Side buildings is seeking to rezone this L-shaped property located at 255 East Houston Street and 171 Suffolk Street to allow for more commercial space and more apartments.

When plans were first filed in August last year, the building was set to be 10-stories high, fronting on East Houston Street and a five-story structure on Suffolk Street. Now those plans have changed to include a building that could rise as high as 13-stories on East Houston Street and eight stories on Suffolk Street. The number of apartments have also gone up from 53 to 63, according to Bowery Boogie.

This new plan also includes over 7,000 square feet for commercial use, which would likely be a restaurant or retail.

To that effect the developer will have to begin the long process of trying to get the property rezoned, and is set to present plans to the local community board next month. The East Houston lot is currently occupied by a decrepit building that's been vacant since 2010, and will need to be demolished to make way for the new project.

Mahfar purchased the property for $16.5 million in April last year. A previous developer also tried to rezone the property in a similar way, but the community board rejected that proposal in 2011.