Nosy Neighbor: Is This Parking Lot at Risk of Getting Developed?

Do you know of any plans to construct at 74 Hudson? Seems like it would be too valuable to just remain a parking garage. I’m looking at moving to the area but if there’s going to be noisy construction and the disappearance of light, I’m not sure it’s a good idea. —L.

I had heard at some point that one of the adjacent buildings—90 Hudson, 10 Leonard, and 1 Worth—owned the development rights in some fashion. I looked online to try and confirm it, but all I could find was an unnamed broker’s assertion to Manhattan Loft Guy that 90 Hudson held the rights. And in 2008, the parking lot’s owner wanted to construct a one-story building there, but faced fierce opposition from Community Board 1. So I asked on  the site if a resident in one of the buildings could shed some light. Here’s what the neighbor said: “It’s actually all three buildings—we each have an easement so they can’t build anything over two stories there without each building’s consent. A developer recently came around with a proposal and as far as I know none of the buildings would even meet with him. Highly unlikely anything will be built there in the foreseeable future.”

I had also asked James, who knows so much about these things, and he noted that ACRIS (the City Register’s website, which I know too little about) mentions a “light and air” easement recorded in 1987. “It limits the high of any building on 74 Hudson in specific ways so long as the current structure at 10 Leonard exists,” said James. “One group had owned both properties, and made the easement to protect its windows without having to remain the owner of both properties in the future. Same effect as a sale of air rights but without necessarily conveying any rights to vertically expand 10 Leonard.” Thanks, James!

This seems like a good moment to remind everyone that if you’re considering purchasing real estate and you have concerns, you should absolutely contact a real-estate lawyer to help with the due diligence. I’ll do my best to answer questions, but I’m no expert.

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  1. That’s very interesting. I always wondered about that site everytime I walked down the street.

  2. In a 1987 document, 10 Leonard received easement rights over 74 Hudson, which limits building on the lot to 18ft. See this doc:
    Best attorney in the neighborhood to understand “hidden” docs like this is Vincent “Oz” Hanley.

  3. Don’t want noise? Don’t move to Manhattan!

  4. Any building, even a 1-story building, would be better than a parking lot, which is just an eyesore.

    How about… a park?
    (of course, no “profit” in that idea)….