Notes from CB3: Mission Chinese Food Approved for 171 East Broadway, Rosie Mendez Makes a Cameo

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 at 5:05 am by

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Danny Bowien, last man standing at CB3 meeting

September 2014 might actually go down as the shortest SLA subcommittee meeting in Community Board 3 history. There were only six items on the agenda, but the marquee applicant, as it were, was not heard until the bitter end. In short, it was a positive night for Mission Chinese Food and Taqueria. Not so much for the future Gatsby hotel at 163 Orchard Street.

Mission Chinese Food, 171 East Broadway

Danny Bowien’s patience paid off, ultimately scoring unanimous approval for the Mission Chinese Food reboot. The item was a simple sale of the Rosette assets from 171 East Broadway, and sailed through in about ten minutes. At least one board member was stoked about its arrival east of Essex. Rosette itself – Ron Castellano’s venture – shuttered this past Saturday after barely a year in business.

Taqueria, 79 St. Mark’s Place

The applicant’s lawyer put it mildly when he said that the landlord has “kindly asked” Taqueria to leave. Translation here – Ben Shaoul purchased the entire corner of Orchard and East Houston and is booting the tenants one by one. So, the Mexican restaurant was forced to find a new location. 79 St. Mark’s Place was its best bet, and it received unanimous approval. It’s interesting to note, though, that the restaurant considered staying in Hell Square by leasing the old Pink Pony spot, but were advised not to.

Gatsby Hotel, 163 Orchard Street

Nico Moinian returned after withdrawing his proposal for a hotel license last month, but was equally unprepared this time. The lack of organization, convoluted application materials, and inability for the applicant to answer simple questions about his hotel really seemed to anger the SLA panel. The agenda item ate up an hour and a half of the night, and resulted in denial.

This beast has two distinct achilles heels: the second floor arcade and the fact that they’re basically a hostel targeting the underage set. As we’ve chronicled, floor two must remain unenclosed, otherwise the additional floor area would render the structure overbuilt. It is in this area that Moinian wants to place the sole on-premise bar; but there are five total public spaces proposed for drinkers. To make a long story short, though, the board didn’t feel comfortable in endorsing any such use on this level. Especially after the NYS Alcohol Beverage Control Law was evoked showing that a hotel without a restaurant and full kitchen onsite cannot apply for a hotel license. Not to mention, Moinian acknowledged that he’d skirt the law by first obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy from the DOB, and then enclose the space with accordion “nano walls.”

Since Moinian is making motions to purchase the property outright from the developers, this denial will seriously hinder that effort. He hopes to open Gatsby by the end of November.

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Councilwoman Rosie Mendez speaking against Sliders bar

Sliders, 647 East 11th Street

Mission Chinese might have been the most high-profile applicant, but Sliders attracted the most high-ranking opponent. Councilwoman Rosie Mendez made a bathroom pit stop (so she says) at the CB3 Fourth Street office while Sliders was up for its full OP upgrade. As a resident of 11th Street, Mendez stood alongside other residents in opposing the measure. They accused the establishment of not operating consistent with its method of operation, and is hoodwinking the community by masquerading as a sports bar. The arrogant applicant had been denied a beer-wine license at the outset (one year ago) and received the same reception this time around. Principal Hazm Aliessa will need to go straight to the State Liquor Authority at this point.

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