BREAKING: Developer Seeking to Convert P.S. 64 Building Into Dorms

school5 Rendering from a promotional brochure.

The owner of the building that housed P.S. 64 and then the CHARAS/El Bohio community center has applied for a permit to covert one of the East Village’s largest and most controversial vacant properties into a dormitory.

The application, filed Tuesday by Gregg Singer, seeks a permit to convert the 110,000-plus-square-foot building, at 605 East Ninth Street, into a “college student dormitory” and to relocate the floor area in order to add a mezzanine. The cost of construction is estimated at $16 million.

The filing lends credence to speculation that Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors is aiming to turn the building into a dormitory. Last month, in an interview about the firm’s student housing business, chief executive Albert Rabil III told The Times, “We’re looking at a deal right now in New York City, on the Lower East Side. It’s a building that’s been vacant for 11 years — it was a former school building. We are now in negotiations.”

Olivia Offner, a representative of Kayne Anderson, told The Local that “nothing has been acquired at this point” at 605 East Ninth Street, and declined to comment further. Mr. Singer was not immediately available for comment.

The architect of record is Curtis + Ginsberg, a firm that was involved in converting the decrepit and long-vacant P.S. 90 building, in Harlem, into a mixed-income condominium that also holds the National Institute of Dance. The architects also renovated and restored the Hooper Home, an East Village townhouse that, until recently, served as a halfway house for women.

As The Local has reported, the P.S. 64 building has been a point of controversy. Ever since Mr. Singer purchased the property from the city in 1998 for $3.1 million, East Village residents and protesters have urged him to reserve at least part of the building for community use, in keeping with its former incarnation as the CHARAS/El Bohio community center. In 2008, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that Mr. Singer couldn’t go forward with a controversial plan to build a 19-story dorm on the site because he didn’t have an educational institution lined up, The Sun reported.

It’s unclear whether an educational institution is currently attached to the project. “This property is zoned such that you would have to master-lease the housing to two universities,” Mr. Rabil told The Times of the mystery building on the Lower East Side. “You couldn’t lease directly to students.”

The most recent construction-permit application indicates that the building will stay at five stories, with a proposed 174 residential units. Plans are currently being reviewed and have not yet been approved by the department of buildings.

In November of 2011, The Local got a rare glimpse inside of the building, which has long been in a state of limbo. At the time, a marketing brochure stated the building would “soon undergo a cutting-edge, comprehensive redevelopment and historic restoration to transform this turn of the century, New York City landmark into a modern community facility use such as a new school, medical, hospital or health-related use, college or school dormitory, museum, non-profit organization with or without sleeping accommodations or any other use as defined as a ‘Community Facility Use.’”

Update | 6:25 p.m. This post was updated with comment from a Kayne Anderson representative.