Volume 17, Number 49 | April 29 — May 05, 2005

Under Cover

Broad Exchange
Downtown darling Julie Menin and her hubby Bruce have no plans to flee the Financial District scene now that Bruce Menin and Florida-based partners Russell Galbut and Sonny Kahn have put their rental apartment building – 25 Broad St. – on the market. “We planning on staying in the building,” Menin, who is launching a campaign to chair Community Board 1, told UnderCover. “Either we’re going to sign a longtime lease or buy if it goes condo.”

The building – known as The Exchange – could easily be converted to condos, since no further renovations are needed on the 1901 city landmark, which was an office building until Bruce Menin’s company, Crescent Heights Investments, converted it into a 345-unit rental building in 1997.

But time may have come for The Exchange to go condo. “Many, many tenants in this building have indicated that they’ve wanted this building to go condo,” said the fairer Menin, founder and president of Wall Street Rising, whose offices are in the building.

Crescent Heights is looking to make a hefty profit on the sale. The company purchased 25 Broad St. in 1994 with Hirschfeld Realty for a modest $5 million and quickly bought out Hirschfeld’s interest. Menin et al then sunk about $55 million into a Costas Kondylis-revamped interior. The New York Post reported the team could vet “well north of $200 million” for the sale.

In the running
The race to fill the suddenly vacant Community Board 1 chairperson seat is on and board members Richard Kennedy and Julie Menin appear to be leading the charge in the fight. “It could be one of the most political chair races in Manhattan history,” said board member and AM Roadhouse owner Arthur Gregory.

Even the local pols are tossing their weight around, with several members convinced interim chair Kennedy will get the political support. Alan Gerson’s deputy chief of staff Robin Forst, a Battery Park City resident, has made a few shout outs for Kennedy, according to at least one board member. But Gerson put the kibosh on Forst’s campaigning, insisting that his office will endorse none of the candidates.

“I had heard a rumor once that she was doing this,” said Dirk McCall, Gerson’s chief of staff. “She was told very strongly by both Alan [Gerson] and I that no one was to get involved with the chair’s race.”

Menin has been hard at work shoring up enthusiasts even before the Nominating Committee holds its first meeting, scheduled for May 9.

“A lot of people seem to be supporting Julie Menin,” said Nominating Committtee member Catherine McVay Hughes. “She has reached out to a lot of different members.”

Mum’s the word from prospective candidates Anthony Notaro and Paul Hovitz, however. “Anthony has not clearly made it known to anybody I’ve spoken to that he’s running and neither has Paul Hovitz,” said Nominating Committee member Pat Moore.

As for the fifth presumed candidate, Marc Ameruso, few board members have even mentioned his name in the race. “He’s not going to get two votes,” said Gregory. “Unless someone votes twice.”

Silver kudos
The State Assembly passed a unanimous resolution April 19 congratulating publisher John W. Sutter and Community Media L.L.C., owners of Downtown Express, The Villager and Gay City News, for winning 26 New York Press Association awards in April, including the Stuart C. Dorman award for editorial excellence. The resolution, introduced by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, commended Sutter “and his small but talented and dedicated staff for producing such high caliber community newspapers in the heart of New York City.” Unasked for praise is certainly welcome, so thanks Mr. Speaker.

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