A 128-year-old SRO at the corner of West 22nd Street and Eleventh Avenue in Chelsea is about to bite the dust for a new apartment building. New building applications were filed Thursday for a 12 stories of apartments at 559 West 22nd Street, also known as 162 11th Avenue.
The plans call for 13 apartments divided across 27,556 square feet of residential space, for typical, condo-sized units measuring 2,119 square feet. The ground floor will hold a little 210-square-foot retail space, followed by one or two apartments apiece on each of the upper floors, a penthouse duplex on the 10th and 11th floors, and a private terrace on the 12th floor.
Ismael Levya Architects applied for the permits.
The developer is listed as Christopher Jonns, who co-owned three now-shuttered Manhattan restaurants and bars—The Lion, the Windsor, and Bill’s Food and Drink—with chef and restaurateur John DeLucie. Their company, Crown Group, ran into some financial trouble and scandals in 2015. By February 2016, all three establishments had closed their doors. Jonns and his partners tried to open an Italian cafe and lounge on the ground floor of 559 West 22nd Street back in 2013, but it’s unclear whether the restaurant ever opened. Before that, a lounge called Mr. West occupied the space.
An LLC that listed its address at Crown Group’s former offices purchased 559 West 22nd for $5.9 million in 2012. Demolition plans have been filed, but not yet approved, to knock it down. The property also has a troubled recent history with the Department of Buildings. The DOB pulled demolition permits and hit the building with a stop work order last year, after the Department of Housing Preservation and Development suspended the former SRO’s certification of no-harassment, which serves as proof that the landlords didn’t illegally evict their tenants.
The four-story building had 21 SRO units, the tenants of which were profiled in a quirky New York Times feature in 2005. The building, which is a block from the Hudson River, was originally built in 1889 as a rooming house for longshoremen, according to the Times. The ground floor was once home to a bar called “Catch 22 or Slavo’s or Joey’s, depending on whom you ask,” and in the ’90s, 20 tenants still lived in the building. By 2005, only a handful of elderly male residents were left, paying $300 a month.