By Ronda Kaysen
Community Board 1 ushered in three new members recently, all of whom hail from Tribeca.
Borough president C. Virginia Fields appointed the new members, Peter Braus, Jennifer Fritz and Giselle Hantz, in the weeks before the board elected Julie Menin as its new chairperson in June. The three appointments filled the remaining vacancies on the 50-member board.
Peter Braus, executive vice president of Sierra Realty Corp., a Midtown real estate firm, moved to Tribeca eight years ago. The father of two small children his younger son was born last month Braus joined the board so he could play a more decisive role in the growth of the neighborhood. I want to see sensible development in the neighborhood. I want to see development continue but continue in a way that takes into account the growth constraints that we have in our neighborhood, he said in a telephone interview.
Although he welcomes new development, he is also keenly aware of the unpleasant side effects of urban growth: a new tower is going up directly across from his apartment on Leonard St. Nevertheless, Braus sees jackhammers and looming towers as one of the unavoidable aspects of city life. Its inevitable that us New Yorkers get our haggles up, he said. But its part of life in the big city. We have to co-exist with these projects.
At Sierra Realty, which he co-founded, Braus specializes in retail leasing, a specialty that will come in handy when he takes a seat on the new Small Business Task Force, which Menin established this month. He will also sit on his neighborhood committee, the Tribeca Committee and the World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee.
Jennifer Fritz joined the board a few weeks after Braus, and spent her first few days trolling the Internet for articles about the board to help her decide who to vote for in the upcoming board election. There were tons and tons of stories, she said. I made a list and read through them. She, like Braus and Hantz, voted for Menin.
Fritz, a native of Southern California and a graduate from University of California at Berkeley, moved to New York 10 years ago to continue her career in commercial real estate. She is currently a managing director for Staubach, a real estate company founded by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach that represents office, industrial and retail tenants. When she married in May 2002, she and her husband decided to buy their first apartment together in Tribeca. Ive noticed quite a change, she said of the neighborhoods post-9/11 rebirth. Businesses are moving down here. When we moved here the restaurants were struggling, now they seem to be thriving, which I think is really wonderful.
The mother of two small children, Fritz has joined the Youth and Education Committee in addition to the Tribeca Committee. You want to do your best to promote business and make any business that comes to the area conform to the laws and zoning of the area make it suitable for the tenants and the homeowners of the area, she said. Theres been a lot of development, and development is wonderful, but Id like to help and make sure that the families can prosper.
Giselle Hantz, an attorney and Tribeca resident, will join Fritz on the Tribeca and Youth committees. She did not return calls for comment for this story.