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East Village post office redevelopment withdraws zoning variance

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The developers will now build an as of right eight story residential building

Courtesy of Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

East Villagers have won their battle against developers seeking to build a taller-than-allowed building on the site of the former Peter Stuyvesant Post Office at 432-438 East 14th Street.

Just hours before Benenson Capital Partners and Mack Real Estate Group were supposed to make their case before the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) on Tuesday, the developers withdrew their zoning variance application, a release from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) has revealed.

The developers were hoping to build a nine-story structure with 130 apartments, 26 of which would be affordable. That was one floor higher than the zoning would allow. Previously they wanted to build a 12-story building with 155 apartments, so they argued that the new proposal took into account locals’s concerns.

But East Villagers weren’t convinced by the developers’s arguments and hosted a rally Tuesday morning prior to the scheduled BSA meeting. The BSA had previously asked the developers to scale back the project after getting 300 letters from East Villagers against the project. This time around, the BSA won’t have to rule on the proposal at all.

As of right, developers can build a structure standing 80 feet tall and spanning 103,800 square feet. The developers wanted to build up to 131,350 square feet. But with the post office already demolished, and work on the site underway, the developers will be limited by the zoning restrictions in place.

“This is a victory for the East Village and all New Yorkers who care about preserving our neighborhoods and ensuring that everyone plays by the same rules,” Andrew Berman, the executive director of the GVSHP, said in a statement.

The project was announced in 2014, and at that time the developers had proposed an eight-story building with 114 apartments—so they might not be all that disappointed by withdrawing their zoning variance application after all. It remains to be seen if they will move forward with that particular proposal.