Volume 77 / Number 38 - Feb. 20 - 26, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Trump Soho nets buyer
One of Downtown’s most talked-about new projects, the Trump Soho hotel-condo, scored its first identified buyer at the 42-story building on Spring and Varick Sts. Italian league soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic paid nearly $2.5 million for a one-bedroom unit in the building, which has been the target of intense community opposition since well before construction began last year.

According to The New York Observer, the Swedish Ibrahimovic counts toward a 53-percent figure for units sold in the building after speculation had swirled that the condo-hotel recently had encountered trouble courting customers. But the foreigners Trump said would make up much of the building’s buyers have apparently come through for him, constituting just under three-quarters of the total buyers so far, said a sales agent.

Ibrahimovic, a striker for Italian side Inter Milan, appears a likely sort of inhabitant for the Trump Soho, since residents are not allowed to live in the building for more than 29 consecutive days and 120 days total per year due to a restrictive declaration Trump accepted for the building. The local community fought hard to stop the project, including pursuing legal action, and the project has been under the microscope recently after a construction worker died following an accident at the site last month.

A hearing by the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals regarding legal challenges to the project will be held next Wed., Feb. 27.

Veselka done on Bowery?
Famed East Village eatery Veselka’s bid to expand to the Bowery may be dead meat due to doubts of getting a liquor license at the planned new location on E. First St.

After Community Board 3 voted last week not to recommend a full liquor license for the approximately 5,000-sqaure-foot space, owner Tom Birchard announced that his lease agreement carried a provision that allows him to abandon the deal if the license doesn’t come through, according to Eater.com.

The stated reasons for the denial were the 120-seat restaurant’s proximity to eight other bars, including upscale restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s similarly sized and themed burger joint around the corner.

The newest Veselka venture, to be called Veselka Bowery, had been shooting for a Labor Day 2008 opening, general manager Jason Birchard told Mixed Use late last year. The owners had looked to go toe to toe with Boulud’s operation, but it appears the Bowery burger battle has already been won.

Apple’s bathroom boon
Patrons at the city’s newest and largest Apple Store, on W. 14th St., finally have a place to wash up before handling all that expensive merchandise, as a tipster to Mixed Use reported that the Meatpacking District location has installed a bathroom at the site since opening back in December.

Westbeth resident Toni Dalton alerted Mixed Use that the facility opened inside the three-story space, and a call to the store confirmed that the new washroom opened on the top floor just last month. Dalton complained previously that the mod showroom, once inhabited by Western Beef and now flooded with Apple fans, lacked a requisite relief station, and that she was even once told to head north to the Chelsea Market when she queried about a commode.

Dalton added she didn’t bother checking out the new facility, as she didn’t feel like schlepping up to the third floor and “just wanted to get out of there.”

C.B. 2 rejects rezoning
Community opposition to a proposed rezoning of the north end of Hudson Square convinced the Community Board 2 Zoning and Housing Committee last week to reject the plan sought by property owners.

The owners of 627 Greenwich St. want the same zoning that was passed in 2003 for Hudson Square’s south end in order to convert the vacant building from commercial to residential. As part of the same project, the zoning change would allow for development of a new, 80,000-square-foot residential building at 111-115 Leroy St., using air rights from 78 Morton St.

Neighbors, including the residential co-op board at 111 Barrow St, want to slow down the residential trend, since they fear rezoning would allow for out-of-character 125-foot-tall buildings.

“We recognize the area is changing and needs new zoning, but this proposal is not the one,” David Reck, the committee’s chairperson, told Mixed Use. “We think City Planning should consider allowing special permits to be issued for commercially zoned property in the area to convert to residential use,” he added.

The north end of Hudson Square is a five-and-a-half block area bounded by Morton and Barrow Sts. to the north, Hudson St. and a line about 100 feet west of Hudson St. to the east, Clarkson and Leroy Sts. to the south and West and Washington Sts. to the west.

Retail ruminations
Bank branches, affordable home-furnishing and apparel stores and luxury shops continue to lead the retail real estate market in Manhattan, according to powerbroker and Mixed Use confidante Faith Hope Consolo.

The head of Prudential Douglas Elliman’s retail division, Consolo confirmed that big things will soon be coming down the pike at some of her most desirable Downtown locations, including the massive property she’s marketing on Sixth Ave. in Chelsea by soon-to-vacate tenant Barnes & Noble. She has entertained offers from a host of companies interested in the 41,000-square-foot space between 21st and 22nd Sts., including Circuit City and H&M clothing store.

Consolo has heard offers from London- and Milan-based “accessories groups” for another property she’s marketing in the Village at 277-279 Bleecker St., but she couldn’t confirm who was looking. She added the Financial District remains hot for high-end shops and menswear retailers, further galvanizing the Downtown market.

mixeduse@communitymediallc.com

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