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BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC | The Harley-Davidson store at 376 Broadway in Tribeca has been rolling over public space by parking its motorcycles on the plaza outside its store.
On a visit to the store last week, several bikes could be seen lined up on the plaza. A manager for the store, who did not give her name, told Downtown Express it was a “crack row when we moved in” and that they are 10 percent owner of the building.
She said it was “cleared” with the city that the motorcycles were parked there.
At Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee meeting on Wed., Oct. 14, Michael Levine, the board’s land use consultant, said that the city’s Dept. of Planning had confirmed that the plaza at 376 Broadway is what is called a POPS, or privately owned public space.
In exchange for a developer receiving a bonus to build bigger, explained Levine, a POPS is created. The space is to be permanently used by the public and there are several rules and regulations that govern it, he said.
“What we know is [this is] an illegal use of public space,” Levine said.
The 1990 building at 376 Broadway, between Franklin and White Sts., is in the Tribeca East Historic District. The plaza fronts White St. between Broadway and Cortlandt Alley.
On Tues., Oct. 20, at around 10 a.m., a female employee was seen opening the White St. doors, before gingerly backing the motorcycles out of the store onto the plaza.
Veronica Wong of Bethel Management, which manages the building, said in a phone interview that when the store’s owner purchased the unit, he knew that it was a public plaza. She would not answer any other questions, including why the company did not ask the store to remove the bikes.
Employees at the store identified the owner as Asaf Jacobi, who did not return calls for comment. When the store first opened two years ago, several news reports said his uncle, Avi Jacobi, was the owner.
A national Harley-Davidson spokesperson said in an email that dealers are independent business owners.
A Dept. of Buildings spokesperson said in an Oct. 19 email that there were no “active violations for a POPS violation at the site.” A complaint had been called in on Oct. 14 regarding illegal usage and an inspector will visit to assess compliance, he said.
A fine will be issued if there is a violation, he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
He would not speculate on how much the fine would be, but did say that the Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Ave. recently violated their POPS agreement and was fined $2,500.
A city Dept. of Planning spokesperson, in an email Monday, also on background, said that the agency would work with the Buildings Dept. to resolve any issues concerning the plaza.
At the C.B. 1 meeting, a resident, who asked that his name be withheld, said, “They do whatever they want.”