Volume 79, Number 19 | Oct 14 - 20, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Trump Soho almost there

The controversial Trump Soho condo-hotel at Spring and Varick Sts. will open in February, nearly four years after developers first announced the ambitious high-rise project.

The glass-paneled, 42-story building — which has weathered protests from neighborhood preservationists over its size and operation, lawsuits from local civic organizations and the death of a construction worker at the site in early 2007 — is slated to debut on Feb. 1, said Julius Schwarz, executive vice president of Bayrock Group, the project’s co-developer along with the Trump and Sapir organizations.

“We’re moving full speed,” he said of hitting the target opening date. “Everyone’s very excited.”

The building’s in-house restaurant, Quattro, and bar spaces will also be up and running by the opening, but other portions of the building — like the spa center — might have to wait a bit longer, Schwarz added.

“We’re by far and away being booked at a higher percentage than any other hotel,” he said, citing figures he’s gathered from online hotel booking agencies. “That should bode well for the future.”

Trump Soho also recently launched a new Web site, trumpsohohotelcountdown.com, featuring Trump scion Ivanka offering a come-hither stare and encouraging would-be guests to enter a contest for the chance to win a free two-night stay at the skyscraper.

As for the number of units sold in the building — which residents can only stay in 120 days per year, and no more than 29 days straight — Schwarz referred to recent statements by the developers putting the high-rise at about 55 percent sold.

“We still have some contracts that are coming in, but the velocity has certainly slowed,” he acknowledged of sales at the building, which has boasted prices as high as $3,000 per square foot. “I do expect after opening the velocity is going to pick up again. I think it’s going to create quite an impression on people.”

Post offices still face ax

Three Downtown post offices remain on the Unites States Postal Service’s list of branches facing closure after the agency announced this summer it would shutter hundreds across the country due to a budget shortfall.

Although the list of the potential closures had been trimmed from a larger initial estimate, at least two branches located about a half-mile from each other, as well as another on the Lower East Side, still remain in jeopardy.

The West Village post office (at 527 Hudson St., between 10th and Charles Sts.), the Port Authority branch (at 76 Ninth Ave., between 15th and 16th Sts.) and the Pitt St. station (at 185 Clinton St., between Grand St. and East Broadway) are among 16 citywide locations currently on the chopping block.

The Oct. 9 announcement “updates a review process begun earlier this summer that examined approximately 3,600 stations and branches in urban and suburban areas across the country, focusing on facilities in relatively close proximity to one another, to determine where consolidations might be feasible, while maintaining customer access to postal services,” read a statement from the U.S.P.S., adding that the list “does not represent a final decision on consolidation.”

The Postal Service opted to shutter a Soho branch on Prince St. earlier this year and also eliminated 24-hour service at the James A. Farley General Post Office on Eighth Ave. across from Penn Station.

Jacobs home nets $3.3M

The former West Village home of revolutionary preservationist Jane Jacobs has reportedly sold for more than $3 million.

The nondescript Hudson St. property — a three-story townhouse featuring retail space on the ground floor and a two-story duplex above — acted as Jacobs’s workshop while she penned the classic “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.”

According to the real estate blog Curbed, the building, between W. 11th and Perry Sts. — where the street corner was recently co-named Jane Jacobs Way — sold for $3.325 million after the asking price dropped from an initial $3.5 million. The townhouse sits in the Greenwich Village Historic District, keeping it safe from demolition or major alterations, but does include rights for nearly 1,500 buildable square feet.

Longtime preservationist Doris Diether, the city’s longest-serving community board member, worked closely with Jacobs during their battles against major development initiatives in the Village. She reminded the buyer that any plan to build at the site would first have to pass through Community Board 2’s Landmarks Committee, which she co-chairs.

“Quite often people run into me on the committee and aren’t that happy,” Diether joked of her preservation predilections. “I think they should preserve the front of the building the way it is and probably part of the inside, too,” she added. “That has significance for [Jacobs].”

But when told of the price tag, Diether gasped, echoing Jacobs’s likely reaction to the sale price. “She’d probably be startled, too,” she said.



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