Tribeca Rooftop expansion plans are on hold

Tribeca Rooftop, the catering hall that has been at 2 Desbrosses for a couple decades, has withdrawn an application to take over the former American Flatbread restaurant at 205 Hudson, just around the corner. They are also holding off on a separate application for recent plans to expand to a space on the ground floor of 2 Desbrosses.

“At the present moment, we are exploring our options for the first floor,” owner Billy Reilly said. “Chefscape is us also and we have not decided how to proceed yet.”

Plans have been brewing for 205 Hudson for ages — I have posts going back to 2018. It was to be called Chefscape, with an occupancy of 150, and the idea was that guest chefs would each take a turn in the kitchen to create an ever-changing menu. Community Board 1 approved the liquor license in 2019 with stipulations; for this go-round at the meeting in September neighbors came out in force against the plan, worried that it would become an after-party space for Tribeca Rooftop. Nonetheless, CB1 approved the application again with stipulations, including that there be no joint venture between the two spaces.

The September meeting of the Licensing Committee also addressed the plans for Tribeca Rooftop’s alteration of its license at 2 Desbrosses. Currently the business occupies the 11th (Tribeca 360 at 10 Desbrosses) and 12th (Tribeca Rooftop) floors, but sometime between 2024 and 2026, the landlord *may be* taking back the 11th floor, which accommodates 700 people. So for now, they are adding a quarter more to the 12th floor, which used to house a photography studio, to add an occupancy of 20. That’s 720 total on 12. And they are converting an internal structure on the rooftop to party space.

To make up (in part) for the eventual loss of Tribeca 360, they were hoping to expand to a small space on the ground floor, which accommodate an additional 150 people. “This is the first part of that long-term plan,” they said at the meeting.

But the neighbors who tuned in for that part were not supportive. (They also could not easily separate the plans for Chefscape at 205 Hudson from the expansion plans for 2 Desbrosses, since it’s the same owner.)

“Desbrosses Street faces significant quality of life issues based on that operation [Tribeca Rooftop] so to support another establishment that could exacerbate those issues is not in the best interest of the community,” said one caller who lives across the street. “I can’t help but think that this will serve as an afterhours venue for that operation.”

CB1’s committee rejected the application for the expansion to the lobby at 2 Desbrosses, though they approved the minor expansion upstairs. There was some discussion of creating an exit on Canal for the Tribeca Rooftop crowds, or even Hudson, but ultimately that didn’t see feasible.

I will note it’s a shame that the former American Flatbread space remains empty, especially since American Flatbread is gone — we are huge fans of the original in Vermont. Maybe there’s a happy medium so that could be activated again…