Volume 77 / Number 27 - December 05 - 11, 2007
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

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Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Trump to top off
Donald Trump plans to top off his newest Downtown venture by the end of the month, marking the Trump Soho Hotel and Condominium project’s ascension to 42 stories in just over a year.

The building currently rises at least 30 floors, and the final floors and steelwork will be finished by the end of December, said a spokesperson for the development. Windows on lower floors have been the latest addition as daily work continues on the property at Spring and Varick Sts., and the building has doubled in size from about 15 stories in mid-September to its current height. (The building is planned as 454 feet tall, which is actually equivalent in height to a 45-story building.)

Sales figures for the condo-hotel will be released shortly, according to Julius Schwarz, executive vice president of the project’s co-developer, Bayrock Group LLC. However, Trump indicated in the past that buyers had been lining up for a shot at one of his $3,000-per-square-foot units.

Local preservationists, however, are still gearing up for a courtroom showdown with Trump, as the Soho Alliance announced last weekend new legal efforts aimed at dissuading buyers from purchasing in the project.

The proposed action would require the building’s offering plan for buyers to state there is a legal appeal against the project.

“This would throw a large monkey wrench in Trump’s marketing plan,” said Sean Sweeney, the Alliance’s executive director.

Affordable East Village
The city plans to add 65 units of affordable housing to the rapidly gentrifying East Village through a multi-agency initiative to construct two new buildings and rehabilitate three others in the Tompkins Square Park area.

The existing five-story buildings are located on E. 11th St. between First Ave. and Avenue A. The new buildings will be located on E. Seventh and E. Ninth Sts., between Avenues B and C.

The effort was spearheaded jointly by the city’s Housing Authority, Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Housing Development Corporation and the Phipps Houses.

The units include 48 one-bedroom and 17 two-bedroom apartments to be known as the Fabria Houses. Ground was broken on the project last week, kicking off construction.

All units will be made affordable to households earning 60 percent of the annual area median income, or $42,540 for a family of four and $29,760 for a single person. Twenty percent of units will be set aside for tenants earning 40 percent of the area median income, or $28,360 for a family of four and $19,840 for a single person.

The project’s total development cost is $21.4 million.

Thinking outside The Box
Brokers have been fielding “a fair amount of calls every day” from possible tenants interested in the soon-to-be vacant office space at 189 Chrystie St., located above headline-grabbing celebrity nightspot The Box.

The available Lower East Side space, with nearly 3,000 square feet, including a second floor and outdoor terrace, has been drawing interest from “a broad array of tenants,” among them restaurateurs, advertising companies and gallery owners, said Anastasia Meyding, director of leasing at Walker Malloy and Co.

She said the new tenant would capitalize on the cachet of its downstairs neighbor, which boasts a star-studded roster of patrons and entertainers, even though the restaurant/club has received numerous noise complaints and was raided by police in August.

“A few galleries came to me with interest because of The Box,” Meyding said, “and getting that exposure would be pretty important to them.”

One possible tenant, who Meyding stated owns a tequila brand, even expressed interest in staging a live cooking-themed broadcast from the space.

Rent will run in the $9,000-per-month range, the broker noted. The space became available after former longtime landlord Steven Silverberg decided to move the historic Spanjer Signs operation located there to Long Island City. Meyding believed the calligraphic sign-maker’s signature logo would remain on the building’s facade, no doubt a beacon for the nightlife elite and a selling point for whichever “funky, cool company” decides to take over the space.

Retail roundup
Sorry, Meat Market carnivores, but the Beef has been replaced by an Apple.

Manhattan’s “newest and largest” Apple Store announced its grand opening will be this Friday at W. 14th St. and Ninth Ave., at the site of the former Western Beef building.

The three-story retail location marks the computer giant’s fourth foray in the city, joining its flagship store in Soho, a 24-hour shop in Midtown and another on Staten Island.

The new store will reportedly be Apple’s largest in the city and stay open until midnight Monday through Saturday. Annie Washburn, executive director of the Meatpacking District Initiative, said she’d like to see the store open even later to accommodate the 24-hour Gansevoort-going crowd — that is, provided it doesn’t negatively impact traffic, crowd or noise conditions.

“This is a neighborhood filled with creative people who use [Apple products],” Washburn remarked, adding she’s “thrilled” about the new tenant’s arrival. “They are going to be an excellent neighborhood partner.”

So, Mixed Used wonders, is Apple trying to exploit the lowered inhibitions of late-night revelers in the area by remaining open at the witching hour? We can imagine worse things to wake up next to than a new iPhone.

The space that housed famed rock club CBGB on the Bowery will open a store for men’s fashion designer John Varvatos in spring 2008, the retailer announced.

A press release for the deal stated Varvatos’s “personal passion for rock ’n’ roll” led him to pursue the space at 315 Bowery, in an effort to do what he could “to help keep the spirit of CBGB alive in its original East Village location.” The 3,300 square feet at the former punk palace will include a permanent stage for in-store performances, a collection designed specifically for the Bowery store and a “special merchandise mix geared to a rock ’n’ roll customer.”

“I think it’s great,” said Alice Cooper — who’s been the face of the Varvatos brand along with fellow rockers Slash and Joe Perry — in a release. “Now all the old CBGB punks will become the best-dressed CBGB punks in the world,” Cooper said.

The club officially closed in October 2006. Mixed Use sees it as a sign of the changing times when a rocker like Iggy Pop, who played CBGB in its heyday, also shilled for a Varvatos ad campaign last year. Only on the Bowery, kids, only on the Bowery.

It pays to patrol
Residents in housing developments have a new incentive to monitor their buildings for illicit activity: The New York City Housing Authority just announced that volunteers in the agency’s Tenant Patrol program would receive $45-per-month stipends for their work in maintaining building safety.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, together with Vito Lopez, the Assembly’s Housing Committee chairperson, and Tino Hernandez, NYCHA’s chairperson, this Tuesday unveiled the pilot program aimed at compensating tenant volunteers for building patrols.

The funds were made available thanks to $1.5 million in state aid for the program, which asks tenants to promote building safety by discouraging vandalism and loitering, and reporting suspicious or criminal behavior to the authorities. A part-time NYCHA Tenant Patrol supervisor will schedule patrol shifts and coordinate the paid volunteers.

Silver and Lopez helped secure funding for the stipends, which will also be offered to tenants who commit to work 10 hours each month in NYCHA community and senior centers.

“We hope that this initiative will encourage greater participation in this vital program, to create a better living environment for residents of the Lower East Side and throughout New York City,” Silver said.


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