Volume 19 Issue 47 | April 6 - 12, 2007

Under Cover

Buried vaults
When you stay at a place long enough, you get to know where the bodies are buried, as the saying goes. Peter Kalikow, developer and former M.T.A. chairperson, should have known his cooling and heating vaults near 195 Broadway were buried under the street and in the way of the agency’s planned Fulton Street Transit Center when he sold the building to L&L Acquisition and GE Management two years ago.

A tipster tells us Kalikow didn’t tell the new owners about the vault problem when he got them to cough up $283 million for the landmark office building in 2005. The sale came after Kalikow took hits in the press suggesting he would benefit personally from the $800-million, Metropolitan Transportation Authority-approved subway center being built with 9/11-related federal money.

“Kalikow left a little mess in his wake,” our source tells us. He said the dispute has slowed down work on the project.

Another source says the new owners have “been difficult to deal with,” but that’s par for the course at Fulton, where building owners have had many fights with the M.T.A. about moving underground equipment. “There are vaults up the wazoo there.”

Marty McLaughlin, Kalikow’s spokesperson, said the buyer was aware of the vaults and they are not slowing down the project. An

M.T.A. spokesperson did not comment.

Robert Lapidus, one of L&L’s “Ls” (that’s in initial, not elevated tracks of course), did not return calls.

Pseudo-celeb shopping
A rep from Apollo Braun boutique on Orchard St. tells us Theodora Richards, daughter of Keith Richards, came in Tuesday wearing “a green, shiny and funky hat full of sequins, was super friendly, took her time and looked at the clothes.” She picked out a red, $40 tee-shirt that said: “You can’t trust men. Period.”

“I love it,” she said. “This is so true. I will wear it for sure!” 

While the salesperson wrapped it for her, he asked her to sign her name on the wall, which is covered with other celebrities’ autographs. Richards immediately grabbed a black marker from his hand and wrote: “Runnin wild, Theodora.”

We’re not sure if the daughter had heard yet of her father’s shocking admission about mixing cocaine with her grandfather’s ashes, but when she was asked why she didn’t write the last name she shares with the Rolling Stones rocker, she said, “I prefer to only be Theodora.”

Hole-tel watch
For Downtowners caught in the midst of the construction boom, life can involve a whole lot of hole watching — as in, “What’s that big hole going to become?”

Those who’ve had to skirt the construction fence at the southeast corner of W. Broadway and Chambers St. to get to the subway have probably wondered what that familiar hole has in store. A hotel? A luxury condo?

Turns out, it’s going to be both. Developed by hotelier Jason Pomeranc, 85 W. Broadway will host a 100-room Thompson hotel on its lower floors, with the upper setback filled out by 15 luxe apartments, including a $4.8 million penthouse.

Going the William Beaver route on its marketing campaign, Smyth Upstairs (, as the condo will be called, has a Web site filled with smooth nighttime renderings and neck-down photos of buxom young female “residents” who just can’t seem to keep their clothes on.

Something tells us that the Thompson hotel and the blue-collar Cosmopolitan across the street won’t be competing for the same customers anytime soon.

Sweet donation
The Maryland State Highway Administration is donating 31 sweet gum trees to the World Trade Center memorial to honor the 60 Marylanders killed on 9/11, reports. The state gets its trees from Route 50.

Faithful UnderCover readers may recall that landscape architect Thomas Balsley told us awhile back that the gum tree’s fruit creates a nasty mess on the ground and is not figuratively sweet — a knock that caused a rift with an old friend, memorial landscape architect Peter Walker.

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