Volume 78 - Number 48 / May 6 - 12 , 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Soho strong, Village hurting

Soho and Tribeca boast the most expensive rental units in the city, according to an April market report from The Real Estate Group of New York.

In an analysis of the prices of doorman and non-doorman units, the two Downtown neighborhoods topped the list for all apartment types across the board.

In Soho, average monthly rents for doorman studios ($2,714), one-bedrooms ($4,630) and two-bedrooms ($6,864) outranked all other Manhattan neighborhoods.

In Tribeca, average rents for non-doorman studios ($3,020), one-bedrooms ($4,304) and two-bedrooms ($6,818) also bested every other submarket throughout the borough.

Since April 2008, prices for all doorman units in Soho have risen 2.25 percent, while prices for all non-doorman units in Tribeca have slid slightly by 0.28 percent.

In Greenwich Village, the average price of all non-doorman units dropped by nearly 8 percent compared to the previous year, while the price of all doorman units fell by more than 2.5 percent.

The East Village was particularly stung by plunging rents over the last year, with the average price of doorman units slipping 15 percent and the price of non-doorman units down almost 8 percent.

Have hookah, will travel

East Village nightspot Le Souk, which for years has been a thorn in the side of its Avenue B neighbors, has moved west to the heart of the Village with plans to open anew this summer.

The hip hookah bar, which endured constant noise and traffic complaints from neighbors living near the E. Fourth St. space, will reopen near the corner of Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place by mid-June, Eater.com reported.

On Avenue B, Le Souk suffered from a series of citations from the State Liquor Authority before having its liquor license revoked.

Now, the North African-themed club will reportedly take over the former Horus Lounge at 510 LaGuardia Place, featuring three levels and a 300-person capacity.

Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3’s district manager, said neighbors around Le Souk’s former location have reported that horn honking has recently decreased.

However, the club’s operators are still in court appealing the revocation, and Stetzer said Le Souk still has a lease on the East Village space.

Regardless of the outcome, Stetzer said it was her board, not the S.L.A., that had to enforce the revocation when the club continued to operate after having its license stripped.

“Whatever the procedure is, it’s appalling that this can happen,” she said of the agency failing to act on its ruling. “We should have agencies dealing with licenses and enforcement. It shows why the community boards are so overburdened.”

H.L. Q & A

With anticipation growing in advance of the High Line’s planned June debut, project co-founder Robert Hammond will discuss the ambitious park-in-the-sky during a question-and-answer session with the real estate community and local architect/developer Cary Tamarkin.

Tamarkin, whose Downtown projects include the 11-story condo building 456 W. 19th St. across the street from the High Line, said hearing about the park from one of the two men who spent the last decade working to bring it to fruition is integral to understanding the former railway’s benefit to the city.

“It takes sitting with him and really understanding what he’s doing before you really get excited about it,” Tamarkin said about discussing the project with Hammond, who co-founded Friends of the High Line with Joshua David in 1999. “I’m a very active guy in the community and real estate world, and I still didn’t have a real sense of how exciting this would be until I started developing [nearby],” Tamarkin said.

The builder will join Hammond at the Wed., May 6, event, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 515 W. 20th St., seventh floor.
“What’s amazing about it is the anticipatory energy that it brings to the area with a public project of that scale,” Tamarkin, who has developed extensively in the West Village and Chelsea, said of the elevated park. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before.”

The High Line indeed has proved to be a boon for West Chelsea developers, who stand to capitalize on residents’ access to the park, although questions of its use remain to be determined.

“Some people have asked me if its just going to be a long, skinny strip of grass,” Tamarkin said, noting that there’s “pace to it.”

“The questions are definitely out there,” he added. “It’s up to those guys to show us their stuff.”


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