Permits Filed: 517 West 45th Street, Hell’s Kitchen

517 West 45th Street, image from Google Maps517 West 45th Street, image from Google Maps

The building at 517 West 45th Street, just to the west of the open rail cut in Hell’s Kitchen between 10th and 11th Avenues, has seen quite a bit of drama in recent years, with tenant intimidation and the arrest in 2011 of an expediter over false filings.

But for the fourth time since 2003, the buildings spanning 517-525 West 34th Street were sold earlier this year for $4 million, and the next chapter of their life looks set to begin soon, with a permit filing to expand the property – apparently the industrial building, but possibly also the tenement next door as well – with a new rooftop structure.

According to the alteration permit filing last week, Shai Bernstein, the building’s new South Williamsburg-based owner, is seeking to raise the building from five stories to six, and carve 39 apartments out of what would be nearly 50,000 square feet of residential space, possibly including existing units in the tenement on the eastern portion of the large combined lot.

The renovation would also replace the current ground floor commercial tenements, which include an auto body shop, with new retail and office space.

The street has seen a number of ground-up residential projects in recent years, joining the prewar tenements and industrial buildings. If realized, the addition – to be designed by Kutnicki Bernstein Architects – could be a graceful way of growing the housing stock while retaining some of the existing built heritage.

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