Volume 20, Number 41 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 22 - 28 , 2008

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Trump nets buyer
One of Downtown’s most talked-about new projects, the Trump Soho hotel-condo, scored its first identified buyer at the 42-story building on Spring and Varick Sts. Italian league soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic paid nearly $2.5 million for a one-bedroom unit in the building, subject of ongoing strong community opposition since well before construction began last year.

According to The New York Observer, the Swedish Ibrahimovic counts toward a 53-percent figure for units sold in the building after speculation had swirled that the condo-hotel recently had encountered trouble courting customers. But the foreigners Trump said would make up much of the building’s buyers have apparently come through for him, constituting just under three-quarters of the total buyers so far, said a sales agent.

Ibrahimovic, a striker for Italian side Inter Milan, appears a likely type of inhabitant for the Trump Soho, since residents are not allowed to live in the building for more than 29 consecutive days and 120 days total per year due to a restrictive declaration Trump accepted on the building. The local community fought hard to stop the project, including pursuing legal action, and the project has been under the microscope recently after a construction worker died following an accident at the site last month.

A hearing by the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals regarding legal challenges to the project will be held next Wed., Feb. 27.

High-rise for FiDi
A new, 33-story hotel in the Financial District is set to start construction this summer at 133 Greenwich St. after the developer recently received a nearly $40 million pre-construction loan for the site.

The 242-unit hotel is to be operated by the San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group in an area also known as Greenwich Street South and will include meeting spaces, a health club, a bar and lounge, and a restaurant on the 32nd floor.

The project, near the corner of Thames St. just south of the World Trade Center site, will sit around the block from the 55-story, 220-unit W Hotel at 123 Washington St. currently under construction.

Multi Capital Group arranged for the $39.1 million pre-construction loan with Florida-based EB Developers earlier this month to join with the spate of new hotel projects slated to go up Downtown over the next few years.

The Downtown Alliance counts just over 3,700 new hotel rooms are currently under construction, planned or proposed for Lower Manhattan, with opening dates from now through 2010.

Veselka done on Bowery?
Famed East Village Ukrainian eatery Veselka’s bid to expand to the Bowery may be dead meat with the recent denial of a liquor license at the planned new location on E. First St.

After Community Board 3 voted last week not to recommend a full liquor license for the approximately 5,000-square-foot space, owner Tom Birchard announced that his lease agreement carried a provision that allows him to cancel the deal if the license doesn’t come through, according to

The stated reasons for the denial were the 120-seat restaurant’s proximity to eight other bars, including upscale restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s similarly sized and themed burger joint around the corner.

The newest Veselka venture, to be called Veselka Bowery, had been shooting for a Labor Day 2008 opening, general manager Jason Birchard told Mixed Use late last year. He acknowledged this week that the lease deal does indeed carry the liquor-license clause, but said his restaurant would still proceed with the expectation of getting the license.

When asked of the likelihood of abandoning the Bowery move, Jason Birchard admitted, “I’m not going to say there’s not chance.” He added a dash of hope, though, by saying, “we just have to jump through an extra few hoops.”

Hudson Square rejection
Community opposition to a proposed rezoning of the north end of Hudson Square convinced the Community Board 2 Zoning and Housing Committee last week to reject the plan sought by property owners.

The owners of 627 Greenwich St. want to establish the same zoning that was passed in 2003 for Hudson Square’s south end in order to convert the vacant building from commercial to residential. The zoning change would allow for development of a new, 80,000-square-foot residential building at 111-115 Leroy St., using air rights from 78 Morton St.

Neighbors, including the residential co-op board at 111 Barrow St, want to slow down the residential trend, since they fear rezoning would allow for out-of-character 125-foot-tall buildings.

“We recognize the area is changing and needs new zoning, but this proposal is not the one,” David Reck, the committee’s chairperson, told Mixed Use. “We think City Planning should consider allowing special permits to be issued for commercially zoned property in the area to convert to residential use,” he added.

The north end of Hudson Square is a five-and-a-half block area bounded by Morton and Barrow Sts. to the north, Hudson St. and a line about 100 feet west of Hudson St. to the east, Clarkson and Leroy St. to the south and West and Washington Sts. to the west.

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