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Apartments planned for Schaefer Malt building next to Community Beer Works

The developer that brought Community Beer Works to the Lower West Side neighborhood near Front Park is now proposing to convert the rest of the historic former Schaefer & Brothers Malt manufacturing facility into 32 apartments.

Pitoune Development last spring completed the renovation of the one-story warehouse portion of the facility at 520 Seventh St. into the 14,000-square-foot home of CBW, a craft brewery owned by Chris Smith and Ethan Cox that produces 15,000 barrels of beer annually. The space includes a tasting room, outdoor beer garden and food service.

Now, the developer wants to transform the abandoned four-story wing adjacent to the craft brewery into a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments - many with lofts - along with storage space and an outdoor green space for tenants at the corner of Jersey Street and Busti Avenue.

Apartments would range in size from 700 to 2,300 square feet, with the largest unit in what the developers call the “crib section” of the building. Rents would range from $1,200 to just under $2,000.

"We intend to create quality product at a mid-price range to create affordable rents for more renters," said owner Giles Kavanagh.

According to an application to the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, the $8 million adaptive reuse project for the Schaefer Malt House Lofts will also include a new 44-space gated parking lot for tenants on Seventh with a median island.

The 1.24-acre site includes 520, 502, 500, 498, 496 and 494 Seventh St. and 515 Busti. The existing brick masonry facade, with stone and concrete window sills and other features, will be repaired as needed.

Pitoune – which includes Kavanagh and general manager JoAnne Ruh – is seeking two variances from the Green Code for interior side-yard parking and maximum lot width. According to the application, the firm met with the community on Feb. 12, presenting the plans and answering questions. The ZBA will consider the application at 2 p.m. on May 15.

"This is a great project for the neighborhood in turning the lights back on to a prominent abandoned building in the neighborhood as well as adding a diversified residential type option to the neighborhood," Schneider architect Thomas Kujawa wrote in the application.

Kujawa noted that the off-street parking is essential for the project's success, to meet the needs of tenants without disturbing the neighborhood. He also noted that there's an existing parking lot across the street for a new medical building, so the variance request is "not substantial."

The project also needs site plan approval from the city, and the partners plan to seek approval from the State Historic Preservation Office to qualify for state and federal historic tax credits. If approved, plans call for starting construction by RP Oak Hill Building Co. in August and finishing by June 2020.

Also on the ZBA's agenda for next week:

  • Lesley Lapidus, through LLL Multifamily LLC, is seeking a variance to add six more parking spaces in an interior side-yard for her eight-unit apartment building at 894 Kenmore Ave. Lapidus, who is working with Dean Architects, said the property is surrounded by a service station, retail strip plaza and a building that rents out space to musicians. "There will be ample green space left and close to the street to create an attractive border," with shrubs, she said.
  • Sinatra & Co. Real Estate is seeking three variance for CSS Construction to renovate the former Casa-Di-Pizza building at 471 Elmwood Ave. for its new tenant, Duff's Famous Wings. Sinatra plans to "repair and enhance the structure" consistent with Duff's standards at its other locations, with the new restaurant offering eat-in dining, a seasonal patio, banquet facilities and take-out service. The variances will allow a single tenant to occupy the space as before, while minimizing exterior demolition, retaining and reusing existing features and controlling costs.
  • Paul Leahey needs three variances to construct a one-story addition to the Schuele Paint and Ace Hardware store building at 22 Summer St., matching the brick look and frontage of the existing building. One of the variances would allow front-yard seasonal sales, while another is for height. Leahey earlier obtained a zoning map amendment to split off part of 85 Linwood and combine it with the Summer Street property.

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