New 19-Story Mixed-Use Building Starts Construction on Lexington Ave. & 55th St.

The building, which will encompass 52,558 sq. ft. and contain 23 apartments, will also contain commercial and “community facility” space. Developer Sergey Rybak of Rybak Development bought the plot for $24.4 million in 2021.

| 12 Jan 2024 | 11:49

A 19-story mixed-use building that will contain 23 apartments and 2,551 sq. ft. of commercial space has begun its excavation at 656 Lexington Ave. The building also sits on the corner of E. 55th St. This is according to a Jan. 10 report in New York Yimby, which was able to capture construction crews–including from an impressive aerial view–digging with backhoes on the premises.

A visit to the site by Our Town indeed revealed that noisy construction was well underway, albeit largely blocked off from public scrutiny by NYC’s trademark green construction barriers.

The plot was purchased in Dec. 2021 by the developer Sergey Rybak, for $24.4 million. The seller was James Biagi, a Teaching Associate Professor & Director of MS Accounting and Analytics at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Cushman & Wakefield served as brokers for the transaction. Demolition plans were filed shortly thereafter.

Zproekt Architecture will be responsible for the building’s design.

Rybak and Zproekt are also responsible for projects such as The Manor, a swanky E. 82nd St. condo building. It opened to the public around the beginning of 2023.

According to permit filings for the latest project, the apartments set to be built at 656 Lexington Ave. will have an average size of around 2,123 square feet. There are reportedly plans to install a dining establishment and a “health facility” in the commercial space. “Recreational” spaces will be available on the 11th floor and the roof.

Prior to being demolished, 656 Lexington Ave. was prominently home to 888 Camera Express, an odds-and-ends store that hawked everything from watches to passport photography.

New York City, much like New York State, has faced a housing shortage for years. As part of her 2024 Executive Budget, Governor Hochul has included a “New York Housing Compact” that promises to cut red tape and “restrictive zoning laws,” especially when it comes to building affordable housing. The project at 656 Lexington Ave., not to mention other Rybak projects, caters to the luxury market.

Rybak Development and Zproket Architecture did not provide comment as of press time.