That triangular lot at 1-17 East Houston at the SE corner of Broadway (Block 511, Lot 19) is controlled by the EDC and leased to the MTA for vehicle & equipment storage. The entire plot is now in the RFP process for sale & development. A number of proposals are under consideration (the submission period is closed, as of March 29, 2013).
From MTA / EDC (posted a year ago):
MTA and NYCEDC Seek Reactivation of Seven Properties
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today issued Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the disposition and reactivation of seven properties throughout New York City that the MTA no longer requires for the transit network. The move is part of an ongoing collaboration by the City and MTA to reduce overhead, maximize revenue, and foster the re-use of properties without cost to the MTA or NYC ...
- A triangular lot at 19 East Houston Street, on the south side of the street between Broadway and Crosby Street. This is a highly visible parcel at the gateway to SoHo, with 215 feet of frontage on Houston Street. With American Eagle Outfitters, Crate and Barrel, and Adidas on the other corners, and Hollister on the adjacent lot, the site remains the only undeveloped corner at this otherwise bustling intersection, and is prime for transformation.
It's a problematic site, as there are huge MTA vents at the center, where an existing easement for access must be maintained. The actual feasible building area is at the east side of the lot, at the corner of Houston & Crosby. The entire site measures 6,174 square feet, and FAR = 5.0. Subterranean space is available on the site. Zoning is M1-5B so residential use would only be allowed if a Special Permit were to be obtained from City Planning. Hotel uses are allowed. Given the zoning, the result could be a large block of a building, rising about 10 stories. Landmarks undoubtedly wouldn't like something like that.
LargaVista is one of the teams vying for the site, and has enlisted CookFox for the plan there as well (the LV homepage shows a big aerial image of the site, but has no info on the development proposal). The LV plan as submitted to MTA / EDC includes subterranean retail with a small glass & steel gallery-like structure at the SE corner of the triangular lot (entry on Crosby), with a large green wall above the vents and rising along the building to the south (for mitigation of air conditions from the subway venting), open space near the existing subway entry and a new art installation. The LV plan, called Open SoHo, has the support of many in the local area.
The site, and the maximum (rough drawing) showing what could rise there under the allowable zoning: