A San Francisco real estate developer bought the quarter acre lot at E. 78th St. and First Ave. for $73.5 million late last year with plans to erect a luxury condo apartment complex on the site that could stretch up to 35 stories high–but before any work can begin the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says soil and grondwater contaminants must be cleared first.
Carmel Partners has big plans for the site. According to linecity, a blog which tracks real estate filings, the company has already filed plans with the building department for a 24 story, 209-foot-tall development that will total 195,299 square feet and include 182,020 square feet of residential space and of 13,279 square feet of commercial space. “The average size of an apartment, based on gross numbers, will be a very robust 1,936 square feet,” according to linecity, which said the developer is calling for 94 units.
But the plans may already be expanding. The DEC document filed Feb. 8 which opens up a 45 day public comment period through March 27 on clean up plans said that the proposed use “consists of a new 35-story mixed-use residential and commercial building that will occupy the entirety of the site footprint” at 1487 1st Ave.
The DEC has designated the quarter acre plot as a brownfield site– which it describes as “any real property when a contaminant is present at levels exceeding the soil cleanup objectives or other health-based environment standards,” according to the DEC.
Regardless of whether the luxury condo tower is 24 stories or 35 stories, the new building will tower over its nearest neighbors which currently includes a five story residential unit to the east, a four story residential unit to the west and a nine story residential unit to the south, according to DEC documents.
Over the years, portions of the site have been occupied by dyeing facilities, laundries and dry-cleaning operations, the DEC said. Two above ground fuel oil tanks and an underground solvent tank were already removed from the site, the DEC said, but two underground petroleum storage tanks remain and must be removed.
Matthew Feldman a senior VP at Carmel is listed as the owner of CP VII 78th St. with offices at 805 Third Ave., but he had not returned a call at the time of publication. The developer has already built the 31 story luxury condo tower at 325 Lexington Ave.
The DEC said the primary contaminants of concern at the site at 1487 First Ave. are “chlorinated volatile organic compounds in soil, groundwater and soil vapor.”
The cleanup will involve “excavation and off-site disposal of source material in the location of the former solvent tank to a depth of approximately 20 feet below street grade.” and excavation to a depth of 19 feet below grade for the majority of the site. It will also involve “treatment of contaminated groundwater through injection of chemical oxidants,” the DEC said.
The DEC and NYS Department of Health said the site in its present state “does not pose a significant threat to the public or the environment.”
After a 45 day public comment period, the DEC could revise its plan and issue a final decision that must then be approved by the NYS Dept. of Health. Carmel Partners would then be charged with designing and performing the clean up action with oversight by DEC and the Health Dept.
”Proper mediation is absolutely critical to protect public health and the environment,” said Councilwoman Julie Menin. “We will be monitoring the remediation closely to ensure the community is protected.”
Michael McCabe, project manager with the DEC, was away on vacation at the time of writing, but the public can reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-502-9687.
The cleanup will involve “excavation and off-site disposal of source material in the location of the former solvent tank to a depth of approximately 20 feet below street grade.” DEC Brownfield Cleanup Program for 1487 1st Ave.