319 West 94 Street (The St. Louis)
August 31, 2007 1 Comment
Address: 319 West 94 Street
Landmark status: No
Eric Galloway, President
The Lantern Group
690 Eighth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Summary of site plans and status
The New York City Board of Standards and Appeals granted the variance to permit a nine-story and cellar not-for-profit institution with sleeping accommodations and accessory supportive social service space.
Community Board 7/Manhattan voted to approve the application for variances with respect to street wall height, set back and sky exposure plane; rear yard; and reconstruction. The board also approved the application provided that a Memorandum of Understanding is fully executed and enforceable prior to the Board of Standards and Appeals Hearing on October 23, 2007. Failure to do so will result in a disapproval of this application by Community Board 7/Manhattan.
Community Board 7/Manhattan approves the Lantern Group’s application to the Board of Standards & Appeals for variance for the addition of 2 1⁄2 as-of-right floors without the rear-yard setback requirement to allow conversion of the 149-unit commercial SRO into 140-units of permanent, affordable housing.
In late 2007, some residents from the community have filed a law suit to stop the proposal for conversion.
According to Community Board 7:
St. Louis Hall, 319 West 94th St., is a commercial SRO building, which the Lantern Group has a lease on and is seeking to buy and develop into 149 units of permanent affordable housing. The housing would be available to low income single adults, including the 54 existing tenants (whose rents would remain the same if below $500 and would be reduced to $500, if currently higher); 31 units for low income single adults selected by lottery and meeting HDC and HPD guidelines; and 60 units set aside for DHS-referred single adults, aged 50 and over, living with mental illness and capable of independent living in permanent housing.
Fountain House would provide off-site Fountain House Clubhouse services programs to supplement on-site supportive services. Clients would be expected to use public transportation to travel to and from Fountain House. Funding for the DHS referrals would come from the most recent NY/NY agreement, a NYS/NYC program which has funded two previous agreements to house the homeless/mentally ill. The current NY/NY agreement also addresses the needs of the homeless with other special needs.
Eric Galloway, the president of the Lantern Group, presented to Community Board 7 and the elected officials schematic plans that include adding one and a half stories to the top of the building in order to make the project financially feasible. The additional height requires a variance and approval from the Board of Standards and Appeals. The BSA held an initial hearing in August 2007, and will reconvene on this matter in September 2007 after Community Board 7 votes on the matter.
The proposal includes a newly appointed Community Advisory Board; proposed site safety programs and plans; schedule of on and off-site supportive social service staffing; and schedule for addressing present concerns of current residents.