Tao Group Begins Work at Chris Santos’ 199 Bowery Project as More Details Emerge

Posted on: July 7th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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The General is deposed.

With EMM Group having fully vacated the premises, 199 Bowery is now in the hands of the Tao Group. And the evidence on the ground is starting to reflect the change in ownership. The conversion is already underway, with demolition teams onsite for the gut renovations.

Chris Santos – proprietor of sister haunts Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex – is to helm the new restaurant concept with partner (and Tao owner) Rich Wolf, presumably in the old front-of-house footprint of The General. Remember that there were also simultaneous rumors that a downtown iteration of LAVO would open in the failed Finale footprint, but that chatter was deflated real quick. That doesn’t mean, however, that it won’t happen…

Anyway, application materials were filed with Community Board 3 yesterday evening for 199 Bowery. Let’s have a look; there’s a lot to digest.

It’s clear that this project if fuckin’ enormous, and that, coupled with the fencing next door for the rising CitzenM hotel, will no doubt keep those car horns honking. Not to mention the crowds and other noise for neighbors. As you probably guessed, there are two components to the Santos project, upstairs and downstairs. The ground floor is the restaurant of unknown cuisine and with 110 tables, sporting closing times of 2am all days; the lower level is the club for which principals seek 4am closing all days. The likely sticking point with the plan, however, is the proposed sidewalk cafe and its 1am closing time (11pm on weekdays).

Two liquor licenses are sought for both levels. Certificate of Occupancy for the whole premises reportedly allows 900 people. Tao plans to file for the necessary public assembly permit.

Given the amount of security personnel (7-12) and other employees (250-300), this appears more like a club situation than Stanton Social or Beauty & Essex.

Last month, when pressed about local fears over project scope, team Tao again banked on Santos’ reputation – “He’s been in good standing with the Lower East Side community for the past decade with his two current restaurants The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex, and he looks forward to continuing that relationship.”

Tao seems so confident of a license approval that renovations have been apace for the last month…

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