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Volume 20, Number 37 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 8 - 14 , 2008

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Food for Fiterman
Fiterman Hall, Downtown’s favorite contaminated building, could eventually house a café on its ground floor, a source recently told Mixed Use.

Michael Arena, a CUNY spokesperson, confirmed that a café is indeed in the works that would be open to CUNY students, in addition to the public, assuming the demolition begins someday and the new building is built.

CUNY representatives will be at Community Board 1’s World Trade Center Committee meeting on Monday to make a design presentation on the entire Fiterman project.

No word on what type of eatery will take the space, but expect Lower Manhattan’s continued revival to mean an upscale establishment—forcing those CUNY students south to Charlys for cheap fries and chili dogs.


Bowery scuttlebutt
What’s that coming to the Bowery? Some whispering among neighbors in the area has yielded rumors of another new behemoth on the traditionally low-rise stretch.

A tipster got wind of a possible 16-story structure could soon land on the avenue at 180 Bowery, between Spring and Kenmare Sts.

The source also got mitts on a crudely designed rendering from someone with knowledge of the current building, showing a supposedly “really huge and tall and bulky” structure, noting it could be a hotel project. The tipster added the print looked like a bad fax, and that it features only a rough outline resembling some type of massive development. The structure could stretch the entire block, according to the source, but a query to the Department of Buildings shows multiple owners for the roughly half-dozen buildings fronting that portion of the Bowery.

D.O.B. spokesperson Carly Sullivan said no plans for the property had been submitted to the department as of Tuesday, but the rumor alone is putting fear into the hearts of Bowery activists.


Trump sales
Donald Trump’s claims of a 3,000-plus waiting list for buyers at the Trump Soho hotel-condo even before the project was built might have carried a bit of embellishment, judging by some interesting Internet findings that seem to state otherwise.

Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance and an outspoken critic of the project, pointed Mixed Use to a posting on real estate site Curbed.com that found the condo-hotel advertising on Gmail, Google’s popular e-mail service.

The Donald had claimed long before the building rose to its current stature that international buyers were falling all over each other to lay claim to one of his 400 units at $3,000 per square foot a pop.

Fast forward to today—on the heels of a construction worker’s recent death at the site and an impending hearing at the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals—and the building seems to have lost some of its luster.

“Part of our strategy is to make this project unpalatable to potential investors,” Sweeney said of his group’s legal efforts aimed at blocking the project. “It looks like it may be working.”


Into the Box
Mixed Use has found a kindred spirit in Into The Box TV, a new online video log featuring segments on all things New York real estate.

The informative daily video journal follows host and founder Rachel Natalie Klein as she travels the city for juicy bits of real estate news, from the Village and Tribeca to the Bowery.

The site (www.intothebox.tv) adds a dash of edge to its few-minute-long segments, which blend an entertaining style with the hard, block-by-block facts that might otherwise appear dry to the casual viewer. (For instance, a recent segment on the Bowery offered a gratuitous flash of cleavage for, apparently, cleavage’s sake.)

While Klein’s spunky reporting style excels at making the topics a bit more palatable to the uninitiated, she also tackles compelling-enough stories to satisfy real estate heavyweights. (In a report last month, she called out two developments on Laight St. in Tribeca, including jabs for poor spelling on a high-end development’s Web site.)

“People need to and want to understand real estate here in New York City,” Klein told Mixed Use, citing the large and oftentimes uninformed renters community. “I don’t want this to be an advertisement for the rich and famous in New York City.”

Klein also claims to be a fan of Community Media, so maybe she will look into integrating some mixed-media Mixed Use in the future? Stay tuned.

mixeduse@communitymediallc.com





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