downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 Issue 48 | April 13 - 19, 2007

Under Cover

Knit site for sale
The building at 74 Leonard St., longtime home of the Knitting Factory rock club, is up for sale. But according to Adelaide Polsinelli, the Besen & Associates broker in charge of the property, music fans have nothing to fear.

“There’s no end in sight for them,” Polsinelli said of the Knitting Factory, which was founded in 1987 and moved to 74 Leonard St. in 1994. “Everyone we’ve shown the property to has been thrilled that they’re the tenant. They’re an institution.”

Polsinelli, herself a fan of the rock club, confirmed that the club’s current lease extends through the end of 2009. After that, it will be up to the new owner and the Knitting Factory to negotiate a new lease. Polsinelli said that all of her current bidders are interested in keeping the club on the site long-term.

The building, which also contains 18 residential lofts, is expected to fetch around $16 million. The joy of defending oneself against Leonard St. neighbors irked about the club’s wandering, smoking patrons — well, that comes absolutely free.

Franz and Doug
Developer Douglas Durst and former state Sen. Franz Leichter are both lobbying Gov. Eliot Spitzer to be the next chairperson of the Hudson River Park Trust, a source tells us, although it’s not clear how much of a chance either has in the race to replace Trip Dorkey, an appointee of Gov. George Pataki.

Durst, who owns New York Water Taxi and is co-chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park, is reportedly getting help from his firm’s president, Tom Fox, former president of the Trust’s predecessor, the Hudson River Park Conservancy.

Leichter is currently on the Trust’s board as an appointee of Scott Stringer, Manhattan’s beep. If Leichter were picked, he’d likely switch over to a Spitzer slot, freeing up a vacancy for Stringer. Leichter literally wrote the law creating the park but he is no longer a champion of waterfront advocates — some of whom are resurrecting a Janet Jackson line: “What have you done for me lately?”

More 311 fun
Every day, it’s as though the city rediscovers 311 and its infinite potential for tracking — and sometimes even resolving — the gripes of New York City residents.

In early March, Deputy Inspector Gin Yee took a gander at the Fifth Precinct’s 311 complaint log and 1) noticed that Chinatown residents were complaining about illegal placard parking, then 2) actually began towing the offending vehicles.

Then, on March 29, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced that residents who call 311 to complain about their building conditions will be able to use the H.P.D. Web site to track those complaints, FedEx style.

And, on April 9, the city Health Department announced that it would start to “develop a system to actively monitor 311 records for repeated complaints about particular restaurants.” The announcement came as a part of the department’s self-assessment following the Greenwich Village Taco Bell rat fiasco.

Apparently, in the past, if the department received multiple complaints about the same establishment within a short period of time, it simply dismissed them (the department said it wanted to avoid sending “redundant” notices to the restaurant). The department’s press release admitted that complaints about the Village Taco Bell — including one report of an alleged rat bite — could have been investigated more thoroughly. Say, before Downtown’s favorite rodents made their celebrity debut on the evening news.

In the Moody
Moody’s has added another two floors (80,000 square feet) to its landmark lease in 7 World Trade Center and DRW Commodities has signed on for 8,500 sq ft. Starting sometime this year, Moody’s will occupy 670,000 square feet in the rebuilt tower owned by developer Larry Silverstein. Silverstein has now leased a total of $1.1 million square feet in 7 W.T.C. — more than two-thirds of the building.

Moody’s will be moving to 7 W.T.C. from its current headquarters at 99 Church St., which Silverstein purchased back in November.

In other 7 W.T.C. news, the tower was the only Downtown building to make the New York Observer’s list of the 10 most valuable buildings in New York City, released April 9. The Observer said that 7 World Trade’s size, modern amenities and potential to command high rents put it in the “most valuable” league with some of Midtown’s most coveted office towers.

213 Pearl woes
After a spate of building collapses around the city, including 290 Mulberry St. and the Chumley’s chimney at 86 Bedford St., the real estate blog Curbed.com set up a betting pool to pick the building most likely to collapse next.

The winner? 213 Pearl St.

Downtown Express readers may remember 213 Pearl as the last remaining 1830s warehouse on the “Rock Block” — the block between Pearl, Platt and Gold Sts. and Maiden Ln. that is owned in its entirety (except for 213 Pearl) by the Rockrose development corporation.

In January we told you about the two holdout tenants and their struggle to get back into their apartments after Rockrose was cited for dangerous demolition work and a huge crack appeared in the building’s façade.

That crack, apparently, has now put 213 Pearl over the top in the race to become Curbed’s “most likely to collapse.” Somehow, we don’t think the 213 Pearl tenants are too excited about the win.





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