On its face, it’s absurd, but the basement space at 351 West 45th Street has been used as a commercial space several times. Many years ago, a cleaning store made an attempt. In the late 1990’s the junk shop “Ah-Ha” annoyed the entire block by piling its junk on the sidewalk. And a few years later the space was used as a meeting hall for Alcoholics Anonymous.
None of those uses were legal as the entire north side of our block is in a residential zone. They were allowed, however, due to being grandfathered. But now the space has been vacant for more than two years and grandfathering doesn’t apply. Any use of the space must be — in zoning lingo — conforming.
More over, there are other issues that would likely prevent its use as anything other than storage. The ceiling height is very low (around 6 feet) and it’s believed there are issues with ventilation and egress.
We’re being told that this attempt to rent the space has already been reported to the NYC Department of Buildings. While that might not have stopped it completely, we’re keeping a close eye on it.