Volume 20, Number 52 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MAY 9 - 15, 2008
By Patrick Hedlund
Ian eyein’ L.E.S.?
The stretch of Orchard St. between Houston and Stanton Sts. on the Lower East Side is already chock full of enough to bars and restaurants to keep even the most ravenous of tourists happy, so is it a surprise that locals are chattering about another possible hotel in the neighborhood?
This one, according to a Mixed Use tipster, comes courtesy of prolific hotelier Ian Schrager, who’s been nosing around the Lower East Side since reports surfaced late last year that the developer had been looking at property on Orchard St. near Canal St. Those rumors have since been debunked, but apparently Schrager has turned his eye northward on the busy block to the heart of the local nightlife scene.
Inquiries to the Ian Schrager Company were not returned by press time, but our tipster reports that one of his high-ranking lieutenants has been investigating, asking about prices on the west side of Orchard St. The would-be hotel would rise just up the street from the new, 19-story Thompson LES hotel on Allen and Stanton Sts., set to open this summer.
Roberto Ragone, director of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, said the BID would be in favor of the hotel, as long as its construction and operation don’t impede local commerce and include local hires.
But the developer will need to hurry, since the Department of City Planning is currently moving forward with the public review process for the area’s downzoning.
Designer Doron Braunshtein, whose Apollo Braun clothing shop sits on Orchard St.’s west side near Houston St., added he is “anti-Ian Schrager,” saying the hotelier’s presence would only add to the ongoing development of “Yuppie Land” on the Lower East Side.
“This is not upscale; it is equivalent of garbage,” he said of the mystery project. “The Lower East Side is dead, officially.”
Braunshtein blamed Mayor Mike Bloomberg for creating a development-friendly city that forces out the artistic community, saying Hizzoner “reminds me of Hitler.”
“He’s my worst enemy,” the ever-provocative Israeli added. “He’s a billionaire building a city for millionaires.”
Downtown rentals on top
Rental rates reached record prices in Manhattan over the past year, according to a first-quarter breakdown by brokerage Stribling and Associates, with Soho and Tribeca boasting the overall highest prices across the borough.
Stribling’s “State of the Market” report found the cost of renting an apartment in Manhattan jumped 5.5 percent last year — with studios in doorman buildings averaging $2,751 a month, one-bedrooms going for $4,000, two-bedrooms for $6,700 and three-bedrooms for $10,500.
Additionally, the report estimates the average price of city apartment at $1.7 million in 2008, up 33.5 percent from last year’s Q1 average. Factor out super-luxury deals at The Plaza and 15 Central Park West, and the average still sits at over $1.5 million — 19.3 percent higher than the prior year.
“Who would have predicted last fall that Manhattan apartment prices would hit record highs in the first quarter of 2008?” said brokerage president Elizabeth Stribling. “However, the true market test will be evidenced in the coming months”.
M.S.M. in Hud. Sq.
Newsweek has announced plans to lease about 165,000 square feet of office space in Hudson Square, adding to growing roster of high-profile media tenants flocking to the Downtown neighborhood.
The mainstream media mag giant will take over the third floor and part of the fourth floor at 395 Hudson St., between Clarkson and W. Houston Sts., as part of a swap that will relocate Thomson Reuters’ offices to the fifth and sixth floors, according to The Real Deal.
Newsweek will depart its Midtown digs after 15 years at 1775 Broadway, which is undergoing renovations. The company had originally expected to take space at 100 Church St. near the Tribeca-Financial District border.
De Niro does FiDi
Downtown hotelier Robert De Niro is taking his act from Tribeca to the Financial District, with the announcement last week that the actor-turned-hotelier/restaurateur would open a Japanese-themed condo-hotel on Broad St.
The Nobu Hotel, De Niro’s newest venture, will feature 140 total units—half condos, half hotel rooms—according to a report in the New York Post. The hotel will also contain a Nobu restaurant, the upscale chain in which De Niro is a partner, inside the building at 45 Broad St.
The hotel is not scheduled to open for another two to four years, and will be only the second Nobu Hotel in the world next to another slated to debut in Israel this summer.
Amenities will include minibars offering green tea and sake, and room service from the Asian-fusion restaurant. No word on whether the en-suite entertainment will take more from the Kurosawa or Scorcese oeuvres.
Development of the residential project Soho Mews continues with additional facade work at the two-building structure at 311 W. Broadway, including completion of the curtain wall that, according to a press release, is “a modern tribute to Soho’s distinctive character.”
Design of the exterior wall — a combination of stone, metal and three types of glass — attempts to hearken back to the neighborhood’s classic, 19th-century cast-iron industrial buildings, according to Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.
“The striking architecture features a stone base with metal panels and recessed glass with horizontal and vertical channels expressing floor slabs and columns,” read the release. “The shifting of vertical mullions, from bay to bay and floor to floor, gives additional articulation, movement and rhythm to the facade, enhancing the play of light and shadow.”
The city Landmarks Preservation Commission has welcomed the design as “an elegant interpretation of the Soho aesthetic,” according to Gwathmey Siegel
Occupancy for the 59-loft, five-townhouse, four-penthouse development is slated for late this year.