Developer files building plan for former L.E.S. garden lot
- Cynthia Marcelino, 17, and Dalia Rodriguez, 18, put up signs back on May 20 to protest developer Serge Hoyda’s actions on land used by the Children’s Magical Garden. Both are high school students who attend classes across the street from the garden, and Rodriguez is one of the garden’s youth leaders. Someone later tore down the signs, and Hoyda’s workers were suspected. Photo by Sam Spokony
BY SAM SPOKONY | A developer has officially filed plans to construct a six-story, 70-foot-tall residential building on a contested lot that was part of a Lower East Side community garden for more than 30 years.
Supporters of the Children’s Magical Garden, at the corner of Stanton and Norfolk Sts., were dismayed this past spring when developer Serge Hoyda fenced off a portion of the garden’s land that he purchased in 2003. The sliver has been privately owned for decades, according to city records, but it was used continuously by the garden in the absence of any development projects.
Both before and after Hoyda fenced off the lot, supporters of the garden made numerous attempts to convince him to agree to a “land swap” that would have kept C.M.G. fully intact.
But on Nov. 22, Hoyda’s representatives filed a job application with the city’s Department of Buildings, seeking the agency’s approval to begin construction on the site. On Nov. 26, D.O.B. assigned a plan examiner to evaluate the application for the six-story building, and a decision is still pending, according to city records.
The address of the new building — which, according to Hoyda’s application, would include six full-floor apartments — would be 157 Norfolk St.
“The community gardeners are meeting right after the Thanksgiving holiday to vote on the best solutions for the community garden, and for the many children who consider our garden to be their second home,” said C.M.G. Director Kate Temple-West, in a statement responding to the news of Hoyda’s application. “Soon we’ll be convening a town hall meeting to share our ideas with the wider community. We welcome and will hold a place at the meeting table for the developer.”
The city-owned portion of C.M.G. gained permanent community garden status this past summer, through inclusion in the city’s GreenThumb program.