163 Orchard ‘Gatsby’ Hotel Sheds Plywood for the First Time in 6 Years

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 at 9:32 am by
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At the September SLA subcommittee meeting of Community Board 3, hotel newcomer Nico Moinian delivered news that he hoped to open the so-called “Gatsby” hotel at 163 Orchard Street by the end of November. Not the case, but it’ll likely happen in the not-so-distant future. Plywood, sidewalk bridge, and other construction materials were altogether removed from the project site last month, delivering daylight to a bereft stretch of pavement in the dark for six years (tenements were leveled in 2008). So, here is the first look.

The Gatsby bills itself as an upscale budget hotel (i.e. hostel), targeting travelers “without money.” You wouldn’t know it from looking at the architecture, though. The eleven-story tower itself (spaceship windows included) is set back from the street, straddling the midsection of Orchard and Allen. It’s the yang to the yin of the Orchard Hell Building. There is also a welcome mat of akin to a beach boardwalk…

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What’s most curious about the reveal, though, is the appearance of those plastic shades on the second-floor landing (the infamous “nano walls”?). Technically, the operator is not permitted to enclose this arcade, as the additional floor area would render the entire structure overbuilt according to current zoning. Seems like grounds for violation.

This arcade is the main bone of contention with the community. It is here, in an open-air room, that Moinian applied to position an on-premise bar. Pretty crazy, right? Well, he was sent packing by CB3. NYS Alcohol Beverage Control Law indicates that a hotel without a restaurant and full kitchen onsite cannot apply for a hotel license; zoning issues and the fact that underage didn’t help the cause, either.

Nevertheless, Moinian returns to the battlefield tonight, where he’ll try again for full liquor at 163 Orchard.

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