Volume 79, Number 25 | November 25 - December 1, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


 

Villager photo by Patrick Hedlund

Novac Noury pointed to damage on the side of his Excalibur stretch limo on Monday that he said was caused by workers sent to empty out his place by the Department of Buildings.

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Disco demolition?
A Meat Market-dwelling former disco star who has done battle with the neighborhood’s new Standard Hotel over the redevelopment of his Little W. 12th St. property had his building shuttered this week and its contents removed by the city.

Novac Noury, a.k.a. the Arrow Keyboard Man — who was known for manning the aforementioned, water-spouting instrument at clubs like Studio 54 in the ’70s and ’80s — had been planning to redevelop his dilapidated three-story structure into a 10-to12-story “mini-inn” on the site, adjacent to the High Line near Washington St. But he claims that construction work at the Standard Hotel, the swanky new lodge less than a block north from Noury’s building, caused major damages to his 1855 structure, resulting in the city issuing vacate and demolition orders this past summer.

Noury, a former nightlife denizen who once operated a members-only club at the property, failed to recruit a developer to partner with him on the project before the city ordered the demolition. He noted the city ruled he couldn’t get started on the engineer-approved redevelopment until after the Standard finished its construction — and that the Department of Buildings even issued him a permit to proceed with proving the building’s stability earlier this year before slapping him with a vacate order.

“Thanks to the Standard for ruining this block,” Noury said on Monday, as city workers removed items from the building and began boarding up the outside of the place. He explained that he had been unable to remove some of the building’s contents, including his Excalibur limousine, before the Nov. 23 action because the city had installed a new parking sign in front of his driveway blocking the classic auto’s passage. When work crews sawed down the sign and hauled away the limo themselves, he found major scratches along the vehicle’s left side, presumably caused by the move.

Now, Noury hopes to win a stay on the demolition proceedings in order to get a handle on the situation, including bringing in contractors to evaluate the job. If successful, he wants to develop the property using the grandfathered air rights he refused to sell to the Standard, and have an easement to the High Line restored to grant the building access to the new, elevated park.

For more of Noury’s saga, search YouTube using the key words “UnStandard Case” — Arrow Keyboarding not included.

Joe’s to trade on 6th
Fans of Trader Joe’s cheap-chic grocery offerings will be happy to learn that a deal has been struck for the popular supermarket chain to take over the former Barnes & Noble space on Sixth Ave. in Chelsea.

As speculated last month, the store signed a lease for 41,000 square feet between 21st and 22nd Sts., making it the most recent gourmet purveyor to enter into the area’s burgeoning marketplace — which includes rows of retail offerings on the strip known as Ladies’ Mile, and a likely competitor in the Whole Foods Market at 24th St. and Seventh Ave.

The Sixth Ave. space was up for grabs since early 2008, with asking rents rumored to be in the $200-to-$250-per-square-foot range. The new location will mark the fifth Trader Joe’s to land in the city, with outposts on 14th St. near Union Square, plus in Brooklyn and Queens, and an Upper West Side store planned to open next year.

No word on whether the Sixth Ave. store will have a separate wine shop for customers to stock up on the grocer’s popular — and surprisingly tasty — “three-buck chuck.”

mixeduse@communitymediallc.com

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