Volume 77 / Number 35 Jan. 30 - Feb. 05, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Villager photo by Shoshanna Bettencourt
A 100-foot-tall hotel is planned on the site of this existing low-rise building at 145 Perry St.
By Patrick Hedlund
Perry St. invasion
Developers of a proposed hotel on Perry St. in the West Village have committed a hostile act in their attempt to push forward the nearly 100-foot-tall project, which the community board unanimously requested last week be reduced in size to better fit in with the historic district.
The charge, brought by neighbors who testified against the hotel, came after Community Board 2s Landmarks Committee had the developers revise their initial design last year to respect the historic integrity of the area. The revisions, such as a more appropriate facade and contextual architectural details, while lauded by the board, only included a height reduction of about 2 feet, according to committee chairperson Sean Sweeney.
James Lerman, who has lived on Perry St. between Greenwich and Washington Sts. for the last 28 years, equated the hotels invasion to the Iraq War and said efforts to commercialize the West Village will actually make it less desirable for future residents.
These are cow paths, Lerman told Mixed Use of streets in the area. Its going to turn this neighborhood into the running of the bulls.
John Siegal, a 25-year resident of Perry St. just two blocks from the project, agreed.
This will definitely be an irreversible loss for the Village, he told Mixed Use. If [the city] cant put a stop to this, theres something very wrong with the system.
Sweeney said the boards request, which asks the developer to adhere to the areas current residential floor-area ratio, would considerably reduce the hotels height, possibly by half. Since the site is in the Greenwich Village Historic District, the issue will now move before the Landmarks Preservation Commission for its determination.
Heres a chance to cut back a bit, Siegal added. A hundred feet is out of proportion.
Avenue D next step
Is Avenue D the next frontier for big-box retail?
A future mixed-use site at the corner of E. Fifth St. in the far reaches of the East Village will likely look to court a national retailer such as a bank or supermarket when it is eventually developed, said the broker handling the sale.
Tamir Daniel, associate broker with NAI New York City, told Mixed Use that the three-lot portfolio at 53-57 Avenue D/750-752 E. Fifth St. and 748 E. Fifth St. would suit a national chain looking to set up shop in the corner propertys ground-floor commercial space.
Its an excellent opportunity for a national tenant or an anchor tenant or a chain tenant, said Daniel, who, it was recently announced, would take over sales of the properties.
The scope of future construction will hinge on pending rezoning in the area, which could see the entire portfolios developable space rise to 60,000 total square feet, including likely residential units. The property is currently comprised of a vacant lot, a vacant building and a building with residential tenants.
Its the perfect location for a national tenant because its on the avenue and on the corner, Daniel said, hinting toward a bank branch or chain supermarket. The next step is going to be Avenue D.
I really believe in the location, and I really believe in the East Village, he said.
Tenant task force
A new committee established by Community Board 2 to address issues of tenants rights and harassment in areas like Chinatown and Soho could possibly have broader reach Downtown.
The new committees chairperson, Don MacPherson, and board members Doris Diether and David Gruber will make up the nascent task force, which plans to liaise with C.B. 2 Social Services and Education Committee chairperson Keen Berger and Chinatown Committee chairperson James Solomon.
Diether, who has personally experienced tenant harassment as a Village resident, regularly fields queries from other tenants in Lower Manhattan and as far away as Brooklyn. She wanted to pair affordable housing as another committee concern, but MacPherson said initially the focus should lie strictly with tenants rights. He noted that market-rate residents face as high a risk for eviction as rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants, an issue that can affect even upper-scale Downtown neighborhoods.
This issue now has come to the point where the safety and health of tenants are now being endangered, MacPherson said, because they cannot make complaints without fearing retribution on the part of landlords or developers or companies who are hired to get rid of tenants.
He added that because harassment occurs in areas outside the community boards coverage area, his committee could be open to discussing the problem with other community boards and neighborhood groups in the future.
I think not enough people understand the danger in avoiding focusing on this issue, MacPherson said.
The 22-story mixed-use building set to rise above the former warehouse at 330 Hudson St. in a $220 million redevelopment plan could see its hotel component open by next year, Mixed Use has learned.
The Hudson Square development, spearheaded by Tribeca Associates and announced last year, will include 300,000 square feet of office space, a 170-room hotel and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant at the property between Charlton and Vandam Sts.
Erin Roeder, senior real estate planner for Trinity Real Estate, confirmed details of the development and said the hotel could open by the end of 2009.
Itll be more in the style of the W than in the style of, say, the Waldorf, Roeder noted of the planned high-end boutique hotel. The warehouse has remained vacant for the past five years.
Tribeca Associates leased the current eight-story space from Trinity in 2007, and plans to add two new floors of offices above the current space (which will also be converted to offices), as well as the luxury hotel and restaurant.
Brennan Beer Gorman architects will design the hotel space. According to the New York Post, tenants could move into the office space as early as next January.
The project will join the 42-story Trump Soho condo-hotel just blocks away at Spring and Varick Sts. as one of the dominant buildings on the burgeoning Hudson Square skyline.
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