Volume 79, Number 36 | February 10 - 16, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Mixed Used

By Patrick Hedlund

Hudson hotel no-go
The investment firm that partnered with Trinity Real Estate to redevelop a former manufacturing building in Hudson Square reportedly lost more than $50 million when the landlord severed ties with the developer last year over its failure to attract a commercial tenant or financing for the project.

Tribeca Associates, which arranged a deal with property owner Trinity in 2007 to convert 330 Hudson St., at Vandam St., into a 22-story luxury hotel with office and retail space, was dismissed by the landlord late last year for reportedly not fulfilling its obligations under the agreement.

According to reports, Trinity had moved to foreclose on the project earlier in 2009 based on claims that Tribeca Associates had slowed its progress due to the recession. This following the $35 million Tribeca Associates had already invested in demolition, environmental abatement, building stabilization, foundation pouring and steelwork, according to Real Estate Weekly. Under the 99-year lease, the developer also paid roughly $15 million upfront for three years’ rent.

In comments to Mixed Use, Trinity President Carl Weisbrod claimed that the developer’s inaction at the site beginning a year ago resulted in a roofless building “left open to the elements, creating a serious threat to the integrity of the structure, a potential safety hazard for the neighborhood and an unsightly street condition.

“In order to safeguard the neighborhood, protect the building from further erosion and reduce the negative impact on street conditions,” Weisbrod continued, “we had no choice other than to step in and repossess the building, create a site safety plan, remedy all existing hazardous conditions and commence the seal-up of the building. This work is well underway and now will be completed expeditiously under our management.”

Erin Roeder, Trinity’s director of strategic neighborhood development, added that the landlord would “be exploring options from here on out.”

Many development deals stalled indefinitely due to the economic downturn, forcing developers to renegotiate deals to extend deadlines for payments and construction.

Real Estate Weekly suggested that Tribeca Associates might have earned the landlord’s ire when it attempted to lure a commercial tenant away from a Trinity property to take space at 330 Hudson. After Trinity refused to let the tenant, Penguin Books, terminate its lease to move into the renovated building, the report stated, the landlord renewed the tenant’s lease at another of its nearby properties.

Weisbrod denied that Trinity ever signed a new lease or modified an existing one for a tenant “even remotely considering 330 Hudson St.,” noting that Tribeca Associates “was unable to attract either a tenant or financing, and Trinity certainly took no action to hinder the [developer] from achieving either of these desirable goals.”

Boost for E.V. shul
Efforts to protect the East Village’s last operating “tenement synagogue” got a boost recently when the State Historic Preservation Office deemed the E. Sixth St. property eligible for inclusion in the State and National Register of Historic Places.

The building, a three-story tenement that houses Congregation Mezritch Synagogue, between First Ave. and Avenue A, had been threatened with demolition in 2008 when the owner floated a plan to redevelop the site with a six-story condo building. The plan would have included a restored shul in the new building, but it ultimately fell through.

The register’s recognition of the synagogue, a.k.a. the Adas Le Israel Anshei Meseritz, would afford the property owner certain economic incentives for preservation, like tax breaks and special grants for religious institutions.

Meanwhile, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which submitted the synagogue’s application to the State and National Register, continues to push the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the building in order prevent future demolition.

“The good news is there’s no new plan to tear down the building,” said G.V.S.H.P. Director Andrew Berman, noting that the city hasn’t made a designation determination on the shul. “The bad news,” he added, “is there’s no new plan to preserve the building.”

G.V.S.H.P.’s attempt to landmark the property has been bolstered by testimony from a professor of modern Jewish thought on the historic significance of the building’s original stained-glass windows and its importance to Hasidic Judaism. A direct disciple of the Hasidic movement’s founder hailed from a Polish town from which the synagogue takes its name, “something which may help explain why the immigrants from this town were so intent on creating an elegant little synagogue in a small tenement space,” wrote Professor Jonathan Boyarin, of the University of North Carolina, to L.P.C. “As such, it is a cultural landmark in the history for immigrants and their descendents, and we believe it is the only remaining monument to the [disciple] in New York,” he noted.
Eagle swoops in
Popular teen clothing company American Eagle recently inked a lease for 20,000 square feet of prime Broadway retail space in Soho.

The 15-year deal, reportedly worth more than $120 million, includes space on the first, second and basement floors of 599 Broadway at the southwest corner of Houston St., according to the New York Post. American Eagle currently operates a store nearby at 575 Broadway near Prince St.

The retailer will pay rent in the high $500’s per square foot for the 7,000-square-foot ground floor.




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