Seen & Heard: More Info on the Controversial Food Hall

••• I added the following update to yesterday’s post about the food hall coming to 205 Hudson:

The folks behind Sevahaus, as it’ll be known, asked to meet to talk about their plans. I’m sure much/most/all of this was explained at the CB1 meeting, but it bears including here: The southern half of the space, along Desbrosses, will be a more casual food hall, along the lines of Urbanspace or Canal Street Market (but they’re shooting for more upscale that that). Principal Neelam Brar said that the idea is to serve as an incubator for culinary types, who might not have the wherewithal to open an independent restaurant. The northern half is more of a lounge, where you’ll be able to order some food from the fast-casual vendors to the south. Downstairs will be used both as lounge and for meetings and other events; Brar’s other business is a co-working space, and she wants to create TED Talk–like programming for women, entrepreneurs, and so on. The Seva part of the name Sevahaus comes from the Sanskrit word seva, which means “selfless service.”

I said that while I wasn’t at the CB1 discussion, I imagined that they faced two main roadblocks: Requesting a closing hour of 4 a.m. is like waving a red flag in front of the committee, and the residents along Desbrosses are wary of Billy Reilly, who is part of Sevahaus, because of his two large event spaces atop 205 Hudson. They said they felt strongly that 4 a.m. was important—although I remain unconvinced there’s a market for that around here—and they pointed out that because the exit is on Hudson, 99% of patrons will head north on Hudson or east/west on Canal (not down Desbrosses). Reilly, for his part, expressed frustration that he has not gotten credit for trying to accommodate residents’ requests in recent years. When he held a community meeting a few years back, locals came up with a list of a dozen things they’d like fixed, and he said he’s done eight or nine of them—and maybe he’s ready to do the rest. (He said he has added a line to his contract for events that explicitly requests no one hire food trucks to park on Desbrosses. “I can’t forbid them from doing it,” he said.) They all said that Sevahaus is not operationally aligned with Tribeca Rooftop or 360, that it’s not meant to be a venue for after parties—but if people do visit after an event upstairs, it might be preferable to hanging out on the street.

I suggested they hold another community meeting so people would know what they have in mind; residents probably feel like the proprietors are trying to pull one over on them because of the way it was positioned on the CB1 agenda. And I recommended they strongly consider trying for 4 a.m. after being open for a while, so CB1 will have a better sense of the establishment. Finally, I think everyone who lives in that area needs to accept that there’s never going to be a quaint neighborhood bistro in that location—and people might bear in mind that it could very easily become a sports bar. I could see the State Liquor Authority having no issue with at least a 3 a.m. closing for a bar at Hudson and Canal, should some other proprietor try to go around CB1.

••• A member of CB1 asked me to reiterate something: If you have an issue with a bar, restaurant, or event space, the best thing you can do is file a complaint with 311 (you can call or do it online) and the State Liquor Authority. Nothing will likely happen as a direct result, but you’ll get a complaint number that you should forward on to CB1 (email man01@cb.nyc.gov). These numbers are the main way CB1 keeps track of issues regarding local businesses, and they’re what the State Liquor Authority will take into consideration when a renewal, alteration, or new license comes up. The SLA has said that the only way it’ll reject a renewal is if there’s a trail of prior complaints.

••• As far as I’m concerned, the only excuse for this is a tribute to Prince. (Thanks to Andrew Nathanson for the photo.)

••• On April 11, Western, the developer of the hotel at 456 Greenwich, said they’re “anticipating to start [construction] in the next 60 days.” But that hasn’t panned out. The weeds growing in between the cobblestones are quaint, but I’d rather have our sidewalks back until Western can get its act together.

••• There was work happening at 175 Franklin, where a number of restaurants have applied for a liquor license over the years, only to give up. Maybe the building is turning a corner.

••• Shooting yesterday in the Laight/Sixth Ave. area: “Alex Strangelove,” a Netflix teen comedy.

••• My husband took the in-laws to the One World Observatory, so I asked him to snap a pic of 111 Murray from that angle. Not quite as interesting as I’d hoped, but still worth posting here….

••• And its flared top is taking shape.

2 Comments

  1. I know you have an aversion to colored lighting, but I love it! :-) Hope to see more of it.

  2. “Pimp my ride”, Oculus edition

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