Volume 77 / Number 44 - April 02 - 08, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Shrinking hotel headroom

The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently gave the green light to a hotly contested proposal for a hotel at 145 Perry St. in the West Village after the project was scaled back due to community complaints.

The planned seven-story-plus-penthouse building was originally to rise 100 feet at the corner of Washington and Perry Sts. at a spot located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, but was chopped back by 20 feet after local residents, elected officials and Community Board 2 requested a reduction.

The hotel initially was brought down to 90 feet, but L.P.C. and representatives from Council Speaker Christine Quinn and State Senator Tom Duane still expressed dissatisfaction with the size at a recent meeting of C.B. 2’s Landmarks Committee.

The developer subsequently agreed to reduce the project again, to 80 feet, by trimming 6 inches from each of the planned floors, rather than lose an entire story.

“We are pleased that Landmarks has been listening to us on this and several other applications,” said Sean Sweeney, chairperson of the board’s Landmarks Committee, noting the developer also added some nuance to the design to provide “more articulation” to the “monolithic massing.”

The project now has to clear the Department of Buildings, which shouldn’t prove to be a hurdle for the developer.

“That should be easy,” Sweeney commented. “D.O.B. approves everything.”

$15M East Village deal

A seven-story building on E. Seventh St. between First Ave. and Avenue A in the East Village sold last week for $14.65 million.

The 45-unit building, at 111-115 E. Seventh St., contains two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as a pair of commercial properties on the ground floor.

It was originally part of a 10-building portfolio, “but with the lack of liquidity in the market it made more sense to sell a few of the buildings separately,” said Brian Ezratty, vice chairman and principal of Eastern Consolidated, which represented seller Jonis Realty. “As the East Village becomes more and more gentrified and the rental market strengthens, this acquisition provides an excellent opportunity for tremendous upside.”

The building is adjacent to St. Stanislaus Church on a “quiet” stretch of the East Village, according to Eastern Consolidated’s statement on the sale, and includes improvements such as a new boiler/burner, asbestos removal and new roof, brickwork and apartment windows.

Elizabeth Smith of Goldberg Weprin Ustin represented the seller, and Andrew Albstein, also of Goldberg Weprin Ustin, acted on behalf of the buyer.

Sixth Ave. supermarket?

Shoppers on Sixth Ave. mourning the loss of the Chelsea Barnes & Noble, which officially closed its doors Monday, could see a new supermarket take its place at the massive property.

Faith Hope Consolo’s retail team at Prudential Douglas Elliman has been marketing the 41,000-square-foot space for months, primarily to apparel and home-accessories tenants, but the broker told Mixed Use that an unnamed Whole Foods Market-style operation recently came to the table.

“Food is fashion today,” said Consolo of the Ladies Mile-located property between 21st and 22nd Sts. “Everybody’s interested in this type of tenant, because no one cooks and everyone wants convenience.”

While she remained mum on the possible tenant’s identity, Consolo admitted the interested party currently has no New York City presence, which leaves out higher-end markets like Balducci’s or Dean & DeLuca. She noted sales by a grocer in that location “would be mind-boggling,” even with the popularity of the Whole Foods in nearby Union Square.

However, fashion retailers such as Ann Taylor and Club Monaco are still hot for the property, and there’s also the possibility of a drugstore — “not Duane Reade” — taking the space, Consolo said. “Sixth Avenue is very exciting,” she added. “It has a lot of potential customers and a lot of untapped spending dollars.”

Trump Soho’s genesis

We at Mixed Use and The Villager have paid close attention to the Trump Soho project since its earliest incarnations, but now it seems everyone has sought to spotlight the seemingly cursed project, from bits of hearsay in the tabloids to a sprawling profile in New York magazine published this week.

Inside the New York Post’s “Page Six” section on March 18, a report proclaimed The Donald “sick” of his project and considering a sale. Not surprisingly, a high-ranking spokesperson for the building vociferously denied the rumor to Mixed Use, calling the charge “unequivocally not true.”

Julius Schwarz, executive vice president of Bayrock Group, a partner on the project, equated the constant gossip surrounding the condo-hotel to a sardonic “Monty Python” skit.

“You keep making something up to see if finally something will stick,” he said. “I find the whole thing really just ridiculous.” Schwarz acknowledged, though, that “the things that have happened have been unfortunate.”

New York magazine delivered an expansive, nearly 5,000-word exegesis on the project just this week in the article “Trump Soho is not an oxymoron,” which includes a bit of participatory journalism on the part of reporter Michael Idov in assuming the role of a potential buyer.

Idov even approached this publication a few weeks back in an attempt to sniff out any possibly surreptitious connection between us — with our offices sitting adjacent to the project — and Trump himself.

Had Idov read our ongoing coverage of the project first, he’d have probably sussed out our relationship as purely subject-journalist. (Granted, in our coverage, we do benefit from the luxury of proximity.)

But as responsible journalists, The Villager understands his intents — and his curiosity, which, like ours, seems to grow with each new floor stacked onto the project.




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