Volume 79, Number 17 | Sept. 30 - Oct 6, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund


Union Sq. taking bids

The bidding for Union Square’s pavilion space is set to begin in two months, giving restaurateurs a shot at landing arguably one of the city’s most sought-after dining destinations.

The city will soon issue a request for proposals (R.F.P.) to operate a seasonal cafe in the park’s recently refurbished north-end pavilion, a controversial location critics contend should be left open to the public and not run by a private organization.

According to the New York Post, the winning bidder will receive a 15-year lease to operate an indoor/outdoor restaurant in the renovated space six months out of the year, as well as run a “satellite cart or kiosk” on the plaza.

The estimated $20 million overhaul, a public-private partnership between the city Parks Department and Union Square Partnership business improvement district, marks the culmination of a park restoration that began in the 1980s.

A lawsuit filed by advocates for the pavilion’s use as a public space had delayed construction of the pavilion for nearly a year before being dismissed in March, paving the way for the restaurant.

Expect a handful of big-name restaurateurs to throw their hats in during the bidding process.


Sixth Ave. Trader?

Cheap-chic grocer Trader Joe’s may move into a new space in Chelsea, expanding from its original outpost on the edge of the East Village.

The supermarket — known for featuring original brands and being a lower-cost alternative to trendy purveyors like Whole Foods Market — is reportedly in discussions to take over the former Barnes & Noble space on Sixth Ave. between 21st and 22nd Sts.

The more than 41,000-square-foot property, on the retail-rich stretch known as Ladies’ Mile, has been on the market since early 2008 when the bookseller bowed out. Asking rent for the space was rumored to be in the $200-to-$250 per square foot range after it hit the market more than a year and a half ago.

The grocer’s arrival would certainly up the shopping competition in the neighborhood, with a Whole Foods located just blocks away at Seventh Ave. and 24th St. The original New York Trader Joe’s store is located on 14th St. between Irving Place and Third Ave.


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