In the News: CB1 Regrets Supporting the Arcade Land Grab

••• Community Board 1 regrets its decision to support the give-back of public arcades to building owners along Water Street, and in particular the one at 200 Water (above). —Broadsheet

••• “First, WeWork did offices. Then came a co-living offshoot, WeLive, in which people rent furnished apartments for months at a time. Now” the company has a gym called Rise by We, and it’s “in the bowels of 85 Broad Street, Goldman Sachs’s former headquarters in the financial district of New York. […] The goal of ‘We,’ as executives refer to the company, is to overtake any conceivable venue for entrepreneurial-minded up-and-comers who are drawn to a clubby sense of community and the turnkey ease (if impersonal feel) of communal spaces. ‘We’ wants to go from owning the place its members go to work to dictating “ultimately where to live, ultimately where to work out, ultimately where to meet their friends for a drink after work,” said Michael Gross, the company’s vice chairman. (Clearly, next will come WeGotDrunk.)” Actually, that already exists. And wait till the New York Times learns about WeWork’s big education initiative. 

••• Some new thefts in the Tribeca Trib police blotter.

••• Remember that lottery ticket worth $24 million purchased on Church Street and claimed at the last  minute? The winner was a retired security guard in East Orange, N.J. —New York Post

••• “Why East Tribeca may be New Yorkʼs last great retail bargain […] James Famularo, a principal and senior director in the retail leasing division at Eastern Consolidated, […] expects rents will start to rise once the condo building being developed by Toll Brothers at 91 Leonard Street, which is located directly across from 356 Broadway, is completed in the next several months.” First of all, “next several months,” my ass. Second, 346 Broadway would seem to be the more relevant project, since it’s actually east of Broadway. —Commercial Observer

6 Comments

  1. Every time I read about someone losing thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry and credit cards from an unlocked locker at the gym, I have to wonder if they are truly that stupid or just pulling an insurance scam.

    • Maybe. It’s really surprising to me how many times I open an unlocked locker at my gym and find a handbag there, especially the ones at the end of the row near the main aisle, allowing for quick unseen getaway.

  2. Re: arcades
    Why the heck did CB1 support such a broad sweeping plan without conducting due diligence?

    Made little sense… building owners gained without providing anything in return.

    The arcade proposals should be considered on an individual case by case basis judging each plans costs versus benefits to the public. If any plan is a net negative to the public it should not be allowed to go forward.

    There are some arcades that can be revitalized benefitting both owners and the public.

  3. On the subject of land grabs, how does 101 Barclay get away with keeping their atrium closed to the public? Just like the arcade, 101 Barclay’s lobby is designated as a POPS. It is supposed to have 24hr. public access and amenities.

    Here’s the link to the municipal art society’s page about it:
    https://apops.mas.org/pops/102/

  4. I wonder what Ms. Chin Regrets…

    Quid Pro Portico
    June 15, 2016

    The area covered by this proposal falls within the district of City Council member Margaret Chin. Although she does not sit on the Zoning and Franchises subcommittee, City Council procedure and tradition give deference to a member when considering a measure that falls entirely within his or her district. As a result, the Water Street Text Amendment would be unlikely to pass without Ms. Chin’s approval.

    For many weeks, Ms. Chin’s position was that she opposed the measure in its original form. In recent days, however, she negotiated several modifications to the Water Street Text Amendment that convinced her to give the measure her support. The changes include a caveat that requires arcades larger than 7,500 square feet to undergo the City’s standard land use review procedure. (The crux of the Water Street Text Amendment is that it allows building owners to avoid this process, and instead convert arcades to retail space after obtaining a sign-off from the City Planning Commission.) This will create greater oversight for six of the 17 buildings that will be eligible to convert arcades to retail use under the proposal. Other changes include limiting banks and drug stores to 30 and 50 feet of frontage, respectively, in the newly created retail space, and restoring compliance and reporting provisions that the original proposal sought to eliminate.

    At Tuesday’s hearing, Ms. Chin addressed herself to the dozens of residents and community leaders who testified against the proposal at multiple City Council hearings, and argued against it for months at successive meetings of Community Board 1 (CB1). “I heard you clearly and sought to make this proposal stronger in terms of community input, sensible ground rules, and long-term oversight,” she said. “The modified proposal seeks to strike a balance of community input and public oversight with regard to the infill of public arcades, while providing flexibility to achieve the desired goal of improved public space, neighborhood retail, and pedestrian experience. “With this proposal, the future of Water Street is brighter than ever before.” She then recommended that the members of the subcommittee vote in favor of the Text Amendment — which they did, unanimously.

    Ms. Chin later said, “this wasn’t an easy decision to make. There have been many passionate voices that wanted this proposal to be rejected outright, or conversely, wanted the Text Amendment passed as is. After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that neither option would give our community what it desperately needs and deserves: Improved public spaces in plazas and arcades, small-scale neighborhood retail, and innovative indoor public spaces.”

    She continued, “after considering all of the viewpoints expressed at numerous Community Board meetings, City Council hearings and, most recently, at last week’s Town Hall at Hanover Square, I have reached an agreement with the applicants that I believe meets the goal of enlivening the Water Street corridor while preserving vital community and City Council oversight.”

    Ms. Chin added, “the modified proposal seeks to strike a balance of community input and public oversight with regard to the infill of arcades while providing flexibility to achieve the desired goals of improved public space, neighborhood retail, and pedestrian experience. Though some may not agree on the outcome of this process, I hope that all will understand that my decision is based on what is best for our community.”

    http://www.ebroadsheet.com/city-council-panel-okays-proposal-convert-water-street-arcades-retail/

    • Well, we’ll see how Ms. Chin does against Mr. Marte in the Nov. 7th election. She only beat him by 200 votes in the primary, but he made it onto the ballot as an Independent.

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