Volume 18 • Issue 25 | November 4 - 10, 2005


Soho Retail Ressurection
Retail real estate enthusiast Faith Hope Consolo has peachy predictions for cobblestone Soho. “Soho is back!” she declared at an Association of Real Estate Women luncheon panel on Tuesday at Club 101 on Park Ave. Consolo is the chairperson of the Retail Leasing & Sales Division for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Soho “suffered tremendously” after 9/11, she added, when “astronomical” rents sent would-be retail renters packing for the Meatpacking District. But Soho is ripe and ready for a comeback.

There is hope for Downtown, too, the luncheon panelists insisted, so long as the World Trade Center redevelopment gets back on track. “We need a crystallization and a finalization of how the retail mall will be built and it’s really up in the air right now,” said panelist Al Callegari, director of real estate in the Northeast for CVS.

But first, the neighborhood needs “ a really strong residential base,” said panelist Murray Forseter, editor in chief of Chain Store Age magazine, a trade publication. 

Battery Park City sprawl
The founding chairperson of the Battery Park City Authority is fielding fantasies of a northward-bound Battery Park City again. Charles Urstadt, now vice chairperson of the city-state agency, has revived his efforts to slap a few extra blocks onto the northern edge of the neighborhood.

The neighborhood was created in the 1960s out of the landfill left over from the building of the original World Trade Center. Urstadt suggested filling in a few more blocks of the Hudson River — about 2,000 feet — shortly after 9/11. At the time, he thought it a swell idea to plop the W.T.C. memorial on the new land.

But last week, Urstadt divulged a far more ambitious fantasy for the neighborhood. Urstadt would like to see, among other things, the neighborhood parceled off to developers.

“The state or city shouldn’t control it,” Urstadt told The Slatin Report recently. “They should take the money out of it and continue to own the land. It should be privatized the way the Port Authority privatized the World Trade Center.”

That’s right, fair reader, B.P.C. would be a developer-run neighborhood. No more B.P.C. Authority to waste as much real estate on those pesky public spaces! An unseemly 30 acres of the area’s 92 acres are parkland. Who needs parks when you could just sell off the city?

Piling up endorsements
If you think Downtowners are going to hold the hole in the ground at the World Trade Center site against Mayor Mike Bloomberg tell that to Madelyn Wils, former Community Board 1 chairperson, Rachelle Friedman, the “R” in J & R Music, York Chan, president of the Chinese Consolidated Business Association, Kevin Doherty, P.S. 234 P.T.A. president, Jane Rosenthal, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder, Albert Capsouto, co-owner of Capsouto Freres, Eddie Gindi, vice president of Century 21 department store, and Pam Chmiel, owner of Klatch Coffee Bar, who were all part of a group of Downtown community and business leaders who endorsed the mayor in his re-election bid Wednesday at 55 Water St.

New Downtown Arrival
“I’m in wild baby mode!” gushed Valerie Lewis, 33, vice president of marketing for the Downtown Alliance, on Wednesday. Lindsay Jordan Bernbach was born on Oct. 23, a healthy 8 lbs. 12 oz. of “delicious,” according to her mom. “She’s just adorable.”

Lovely Lindsay is the first child for Lewis and her husband Justin Bernbach, 33, previously a spokesperson for Shelly Silver, the New York State Assembly speaker and Downtown’s rep. “We’re quite the Downtown couple,” Lewis said. Bernbach is now deputy director of communications for Phoenix House, a drug and alcohol treatment program.

Lewis and Bernbach toyed with the idea of taking new Lindsay out for her first Halloween foray, but ultimately passed on the idea. “We couldn’t pull it together,” she said. But Lewis can’t wait to introduce the new Park Slope resident to Lower Manhattan. “I had this image of bringing her up the esplanade,” Lewis mused.


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