Volume 77 / Number 33 Jan. 16 - 22, 2008
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

Dia digs’ new life
The Chelsea warehouse formerly operated by the Dia Art Foundation will be converted to high-end gallery space with residential rental units to be added on top of the W. 22nd St. building. Architect and developer Joseph Pell Lombardi announced that the entire existing 40,000-square-foot, four-story warehouse will be converted to rentable gallery space, with an additional 22,000 square feet to be developed above for residential penthouses. The addition will constitute about two-and-a-half stories of rental units with Hudson River views.

“We’ve had an endless amount of phone calls from gallery owners with interest in [the space],” said Lombardi, adding that high ceilings and long spans between columns will contribute to keeping the center of the art world in Chelsea. “That’s the kind of product that you don’t get on the Lower East Side,” he boasted.

In need of Advocacy
Community members fighting a proposed sanitation facility on Spring St. in Hudson Square have reached out to the city’s public advocate and borough president in their quest to forestall the project that has raised local residents’ ire.

Richard Barrett of the Community Sanitation Steering Committee sent a letter to Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum’s Office last week asking for her involvement, because, as the letter states, the city’s failure to properly inform the affected communities of the project constitutes “a derogation of public rights that requires [her] involvement.”

“Central to the issue is D.S.N.Y.’s insistence that the expanded garage and other facilities are ‘local’ versus ‘regional,’” the letter continues, “thereby limiting the area of analysis under Fair Share to 400 feet rather than the requisite half-mile radius and preempting the appropriate dialogue, review and consultation.”

Barrett also said he was heartened by his recent discussion with Borough President Scott Stringer, who the committee also hopes to enlist in the fight. Next on the list? Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Barrett acknowledged, but only after the ULURP review process begins.

Lower L.E.S.
The South of Delancey New Business Advisory Committee will hold its first informational meeting on Wednesday for business owners and residents in the Lower East Side’s expanding retail area. Working in conjunction with the L.E.S. Business Improvement District, the new group will meet to discuss strategies for enhancing the district’s retail landscape, said L.E.S. BID president Roberto Ragone. The meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Valley, located at 48 Orchard St. between Grand and Hester Sts.This begs the Mixed Use question of how long it will take for the area to establish a catchy nickname, because we’re thinking the increasingly used “BelDel” isn’t going to cut it.

Avella: You’re fired!
Queens City Councilmember and mayoral wannabe Tony Avella blasted the Department of Buildings and its commissioner Patricia Lancaster following Monday’s Trump Soho condo-hotel disaster, calling for her resignation for the department’s failure to prevent the accident.

“D.O.B. is an agency in total chaos,” Avella charged in a statement released Tuesday. “D.O.B.’s main mission to ensure the safe and lawful use of buildings and properties under the building and zoning code has been allowed to be subverted into a mad dash for more construction — and construction at any cost. The blame has to fall on Commissioner Lancaster,” he said.

Mixed Use thinks the declaration is befitting of a mayoral candidate, seeing as how bold statements such as these tend to draw the media spotlight. It does, however, seem to flow with Avella’s pro-preservation agenda, which has criticized the current administration’s development push.

Craigslist this ain’t
A new realty Web site started specifically to fend off unscrupulous brokers has hit the ’Net with a crop of listings throughout the Village and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Flyrig.com, which launched in mid-December, offers users the ability to review apartment listings and rate brokers, as well as requiring those who list on the site to provide a valid real estate license and contact information.

The Web site also features an interactive Google-powered map, listings by specific Manhattan neighborhoods (as well as the boroughs), listings by individual brokers and their rankings by users.

The site currently touts 51 apartment listings throughout the Village, Chelsea and the Lower East, and hopes to have a total broker membership of 1,000 by the end of the month.


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