Volume 77 / Number 50 - May 14 - 20, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

News on Newsweek move
Newsweek has announced plans to lease about 165,000 square feet of office space in Hudson Square, adding to growing roster of high-profile media tenants flocking to the Downtown neighborhood.

The mainstream media mag giant will take over the third floor and part of the fourth floor at 395 Hudson St., between Clarkson and W. Houston Sts., as part of a swap that will relocate Thomson Reuters’ offices to the fifth and sixth floors, according to The Real Deal online real estate news.

Newsweek will depart its Midtown digs after 15 years at 1775 Broadway, which is undergoing renovations. The company had originally expected to take space at 100 Church St. near the Tribeca-Financial District border.

The building, across from J.J. Walker ball field, is owned by the carpenters union and also houses Hot 97 radio station. The location was the site of several shootouts and beatings in recent years involving the posses of rappers who were doing interviews at the radio station and their rivals.

The Gate, reincarnate
A new, 800-person venue opening in the space of the former Village Gate theater at 158 Bleecker St. will hold the first of its featured events starting next month.

The “multimedia art cabaret” (Le) Poisson Rouge, which will benefit from the creative input of Village Gate founder Art D’Lugoff, has undergone a complete revamping by architect John Storyk, who designed Jimi Hendrix’s nearby Electric Ladyland Studios on W. Eighth St.

A host of ticketed and private events will kick off on June 17, according to a club spokesperson, including performances for the JVC Jazz Festival, before the venue opens to the public with a full calendar of events in September.

The spokesperson added that the theater would maintain the original Village Gate marquee on Bleecker St., while “still ironing out what they can do” to preserve any remnants of the historic space.

The theater held a sale last week of some of its existing wares, including seats and stage decks, and the new space will feature a main performance space with a sliding stage, an adjacent soundproof lounge and two lobby areas.

D’Lugoff, who was enlisted to advise on everything from entertainment and promotions to food and drink, said the club would echo its forebear.

“It’ll have some rock and it’ll have some folk, and it’ll have jazz and some comedy,” he said. “In a sense, it’ll be like the Gate.”

D’Lugoff will also be putting on some of his own shows at the space, which he said will hearken back to its heyday of “Salsa Meets Jazz” performances. His first, on June 23, features Grammy-winning conga player Poncho Sanchez.

Wunderkid Soho-bound
Fashion-design darling Richard Chai just inked a deal for new Soho digs, leasing a floor of loft space in the eight-story building at 107 Grand St.

Chai, a Marc Jacobs protégé and Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation winner, will take over 8,600 square feet, comprising the entire seventh floor of the building at Grand and Mercer Sts. Asking prices were in the $60-per-square-foot range, according to Sinvin Realty, which arranged for the 10-year lease.

The young designer “hit his stride this season” after gigging for Jacobs and Donna Karan, introducing his eponymous line in 2004 and expanding every year since, according to a high-ranking fashion editor and source close to Mixed Use. The designer most recently struck a deal with Target’s GO International collection to design for the retail giant.

“He has an Uptown feel with a Downtown edge,” the editor noted, making the location in the 1915 building’s “sun-washed loft space…an ideal home for a creative company like Richard Chai,” said Sinvin broker Christopher Owles.

Sinvin’s Owles and Michael Glanzberg represented the landlord, Man Yun Real Estate Corp., in the deal. The lease was guaranteed for Chai by SK Networks, overseers of businesses including manufacturing and distributing for designers Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan. Chai was represented in the transaction by Esther Zar of Metro Spire, LLC.

What’s in a name?
More sales for brokers and developers, according to an article Sunday in the New York Post’s glossy Page Six Magazine. The piece cites the newest additions to the Downtown lexicon, such as BAMBI (Beyond Allen Manhattan Bridge Intersection) SoFi (South Fifth Avenue) and BelDel (Below Delancey), as examples of real estate interests pushing tongue-defying acronyms to market specific neighborhoods.

A map accompanying the article shows the Downtown breakdown, including a nod to “WeVar” — the Tom Wolfe-coined acronym for “West of Varick,” which is now more frequently referred to as Hudson Square. (The “WeVar” moniker never stuck, “because nobody wanted to live there, so there was no need for the name,” Oxford English Dictionary editor Jesse Sheidlower told the magazine.)

Village Voice scribe Michael Musto confided to Mixed Use that most of the established nabe nicknames never struck his fancy.

“I always hated Dumbo (sounds like a Disney movie) and Nolita (sounds like a Nabokov novel),” he said. “But I sort of like the affectionate nickname for the East 20s — Curry Hill.”

Ho-hum at Chumley’s
The pace of construction work at Chumley’s makes it appear nearly impossible that the historic bar will reopen as planned in May, according to the blog Lost City. The Web site’s dutiful reporting on the famed tavern, which The Villager revisited in February to find work crews at the West Village site, finds that owner Steve Schlopak will likely not resurrect Chumley’s in time for the summer drinking season.

“Not unless they draft a few superheroes onto the construction crew between now and the end of the month,” Lost City blogger Brooks of Sheffield wrote last week.

Demolition of 86 Bedford St., which is landmarked, is prohibited unless the old structure poses danger to surrounding buildings, but that can’t prevent building owners from bringing in a new operator.

“Does anyone care out there?” Brooks asked. “Is there no one with money and a mind who will step up to the task of saving this landmark?”


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