By Patrick Hedlund
Shake Shack beaten back
A group of Downtown neighbors have successfully fended off a bid by trendy takeout joint Shake Shack to open a new outpost in Little Italy after pursuing a vocal campaign against the popular burger purveyor.
The Danny Meyer-helmed fast-food restaurant, which had been seeking to open at the corner of Prince and Mulberry Sts. across the street from the 195-year-old St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, had previously stated that it could serve up to 100 customers per hour on the understated stretch. But plans for the property only offered 30 seasonal seats on the restaurant’s proposed open-air roof and just a few inside the space — creating fear among locals that the area would be flooded with burger-chomping transients.
“We were incredibly excited about investing in such an authentic neighborhood with its bustling retail scene and vibrant street life,” read a statement from Shake Shack C.E.O. David Swinghamer. “Unfortunately, we could not solve the problem of building something that both made good business sense and was harmonious with the concerns of immediat e neighbors. We are proud of our history of opening restaurants that strengthen their communities, and we’ll continue to seek out unique locations in neighborhoods where a Shake Shack will be cherished and have much to contribute.”
After a recent Community Board 2 State Liquor Authority Licensing Committee meeting, at which residents erupted in opposition to the plan, Meyer arranged a meeting with board chairperson Jo Hamilton to inform her that he would abandon the project.
“Shake Shack had decided on their own that they would not pursue this location,” she said. “And I think it’s a very classy thing to do,” for Meyer to tell the board personally that he was pulling out.
Locals had worried that in addition to the influx of patrons to the area — which would result in “trash, sanitation and traffic congestion generated by the production of over 1,500 carryout meals a day,” according to a community statement — the restaurant’s presence would also negatively impact neighbors living in an adjacent building.
“Yes, there was opposition, but I think Shake Shack has come to realize that its attitude toward communities is in fact to be harmonious with communities,” said Alex Neratoff, an architect and resident of the area for more than 30 years. “I really perceive it as a very honorable withdrawal.”
Neratoff recommended the restaurant find a location with wider streets and more open space — he suggested the intersection of Sixth Ave. and Canal St., for example — that would not “send transient demographics in the street into overload.”
Ultimately, Meyer’s concession seemed to resonate most deeply with the parties involved.
“They didn’t want to be a problem for the neighborhood — that for this location, it wasn’t the right thing,” Hamilton added. “Great minds think alike.”
A pair of five-story mixed-used buildings in Tribeca recently sold for more than $8 million in an all-cash transaction.
The walk-up buildings, located at 16-18 North Moore St at the corner of Varick St., fetched about $525 per square foot, or 12 times gross rent, according to Massey Knakal, which handled the sale.
A five-floor commercial condominium building with ground-floor retail in the South Street Seaport recently hit the market.
The 13,500-square-foot elevator building, located at 30 Cliff St. near Fulton St., used to house a New York Sports Club and features a duplexed street-level retail component that includes a basement.
Marcus & Millichap has the exclusive selling rights for the property.
A digital editing and production services firm recently signed a lease for 4,000 square feet of space in Hudson Square.
Formerly located in the Flatiron District, East Coast Digital inked a 10-year lease for the space at 155 Sixth Ave., near Spring St., with asking rent in the low $30s per square foot, according to landlord Trinity Real Estate.
The 15-story building, completed in 1929, currently houses such office tenants as Arup and Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and retail tenants Aprilia Motorcycles and Space Salon.