Several readers checked in last week, asking if we’d heard anything about 263 N 3rd St., most recently the home of the Lite Bite luncheonette. Abandoned for at least five years now, the fate of this site appeared to be decided a few months ago, as new owners received permission from the ZBA to add three stories on top of the existing building, for residential purposes (well, it’s either three or four stories, the application is a little confusing. It’s definitely for six apartments). The commercial space would remain, though OCCA had requested a non-liquor use.
A year ago
About six months ago, the rear of the building was removed:
Rear of the property, six months ago
And then in the last few weeks, this happened.
As you can imagine, the recent near-complete demolition of the building is what caught the eye of so many of our readers. How, in Old City, was the developer able to demo the building? And why, we wondered, did the developers demo all but the stone framing in the front of the building?
According to a representative from OCCA, the developer was permitted to demo the building with the blessing of the Historical Commission, which only required the preservation of the stone architrave in the front. The logic was that the existing structure would be unable to bear the weight of the proposed additional stories, and the stone in the front was the only historically valuable component of the existing building. Seems like a reasonable explanation to us, and the recent demolition seems like a sign that construction should soon be on the horizon for this long-vacant corner.
Now, let the speculation on a commercial tenant commence!