75 First Ave.: The Incredible Shrinking Development Plan

Lily Tomlin in the film,”The Incredible Shrinking Woman”

We have recently learned that a new building permit application has been filed with the Department of Buildings for 75 First Avenue in the East Village. The permit, just filed and not yet approved, calls for an 8-story residential building.  What had originally been proposed was a 14-story building that would have been completely inappropriate and out-of-scale for this stretch of First Avenue and the East Village in general.

How exactly did it lose 6 floors you ask?

The passage of the 2008 East Village/Lower East Side Rezoning is what caused this building to shrink. The rezoning was strongly advocated was for by GVSHP, Councilmember Mendez, East Village Community Coalition, and Community Board #3 to curtail the rampant, out-of-scale development that was plaguing the area. Prior to the 2008 rezoning there was no limit on the height of new development in the area. The East Village/Lower East Side Rezoning applied the principles of contextual zoning to help preserve the character of the East Village and for the first time restricted building heights and eliminated the community facility bonuses which were being widely abused.

Old Zoning – R7-2

New Zoning – R7A

To learn more about the impact of the East Village/Lower East Side Rezoning read our report report Keeping in CharacterA Look at the Impacts of Recent Community-Initiated Rezonings in the East Village.  The report illustrates how these two rezonings have changed the scale of new developments in the neighborhood, helping to preserve many older buildings, strengthening the East Village’s residential character and discouraging dorm and hotel development, and incentivizing the creation and retention of affordable housing.


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avatar Andito Lloyd is GVSHP's East Village & Special Projects Director