Grimy SoHo Gas Station Could Fetch $27,500 a Month as Gallery

By Andrea Swalec on April 18, 2012 6:47am 

A glance through the debris-filled 135 Crosby St. garage's greasy windows reveals the 2,200-square-foot space has a long way to go before being tenant-ready.
A glance through the debris-filled 135 Crosby St. garage's greasy windows reveals the 2,200-square-foot space has a long way to go before being tenant-ready.
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DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec

SOHO — The BP gas station on East Houston Street is searching for a few chic businesses to fill its vacant garage with upscale merchandise instead of motor oil and car parts.

It's a fixer-upper: A peek inside the dingy debris-filled garage's oil-filmed windows revealed dusty floors, trash and peeling paint. A sign on the front of the vacant mechanics garage behind the BP on Crosby and East Houston streets reads, "Prime Retail Space Available, Pop-Up Store."

"It's a beautiful space that will lend itself to a company that may or may not already have a Downtown presence but would like to showcase its brand in one of the coolest neighborhoods in New York: the SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District," said Adam Good, spokesman for LargaVista Companies, which owns the BP station.

The 2,200 square-foot space — which was in use as a working garage until February — boasts 16-foot ceilings and 27 feet of frontage on both Crosby and Lafayette streets, at the crossroads of a tourist-heavy strip of SoHo where neighbors include bar Puck Fair, Hollister and the Puck Building.

Owners realized the garage, which sits on property that's worth approximately $1 million, according to a city estimate, was being "underutilized" as a garage, a spokesman said.

The space could command up to up to $27,500 per month amid rates for a pop-up in the area that run approximately $150 per square foot, according to Prudential Douglas Elliman realtor Faith Hope Consolo.

It would be rented under an 18-month, month-to-month lease, according to a listing with realty firm CBRE.

But some in the area said that's all part of the highbrow-lowbrow appeal.

"Utilizing any space in New York City that has sat dormant for any creative outlet or business is a good idea," said Cameron Cooper, a manager of the Bond Street boutique Oak, where shoes can run upwards of $600.

Cooper said displaying fine clothing or art in a once-rough space is a distinctly Downtown idea, and said it reminded him of the Fashion Week after-party designer Alexander Wang held at a Mobil station.

"The grittiness was part of the draw," he said.

Heather Koenitzer, a manager at the Lafayette Street Swedish denim shop BLK DNM, also liked the idea of an upscale store in a garage.

"I think it's a cool idea," she said. "It would contrast with the sophistication of the clothes."

Sherman Pitter, manager of the Lafayette Street street-wear store Religion, was less confident about the pricy garage space.

"If the clothes are so nice, you're going to put them in an old garage? Why?" he asked.

Good said LargaVista is currently seeking Landmarks Preservation Commission approval of development plans for the BP lot — which could include tearing down the gas station and replacing it with high-end retail, according to the group's website.

The website adds that the group wants "a leading international brand to anchor an extraordinary flagship building" on a planned building's ground floor.

The MTA is looking to develop its property on East Houston Street just west of the gas station site, which could also include retail tenants, according to the request for proposal.

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