Jarmulowsky Bank Hotel License Sails through CB3, Despite Local Opposition

Posted on: October 16th, 2018 at 5:03 am by

When block associations don’t work together, the residents lose. That’s essentially the narrative behind the Jarmulowsky Bank Hotel and the approval of its liquor license last week.

Dozens of residents attended the Community Board 3 SLA subcommittee meeting last Tuesday in opposition to the hotel’s food and beverage plans at 9 Orchard Street. Namely, to operate a combination of nine public and private spaces with full liquor privileges, several of them until 4am.

Many attendees who had been informed about the project by the Orchard Street Block Association were surprised to learn that SPaCE Block Association had already cut a behind-closed-doors deal with developer DLJ Real Estate Partners. One that supports operating with 4am closure at two public bars and two private event spaces with a total capacity of more than 375 people.

During the meeting, the SLA subcommittee proposed to reduce the lobby lounge and another restaurant/bar’s opening hours. Otherwise, the panel largely followed, and approved, the SPaCE agreement, which maintains 4am closing times in the cellar cocktail bar and two private event spaces.

Orchard Street Block Association had met with DLJ several times, organized public meetings for the Jarmulowsky Bank hotel which were attended by approximately 45 local residents, and attracted at least 35 supporters of the OSBA plan at the SLA committee meeting, many of them attending for the first time. Finally, OSBA’s online petition in support of its proposal for reasonable hours currently boasts more than 200 signatures. SPaCE, on the other hand, was represented by three people, one of whom is a previous CB3 member.

We understand that OSBA had attempted to work toward an agreement with SPaCE that the community could support; however, those attempts went unrealized. In the process of exploring a joint meeting between the developers and community stakeholders, SPaCE’s leader Emma Culbert reportedly declined.

“We are frustrated that the voices of 200 people are being drowned out by 4 or 5 members of a community organization that claims to represent the neighborhood,” said OSBA’s Tamara Daley. “Residents are terrified of the impact this nightlife hotel will have on their lives and want to know why it is being granted hours that are out of line with other neighborhood businesses. SPaCE cut a deal with developers but they do not represent the community, and we call on the Community Board to recognize the overwhelming opposition to their proposal.”

More than a dozen residents and local business owners spoke last week in support of the OSBA proposal, including the owners of Little Canal and Metrograph, State Committee member Chris Marte, and OSBA’s Pamela Yeh, who spoke about the lack of outreach to the Chinese community.

OSBA also submitted a letter to the CB3 from the abbess of Cheng Chio Buddhist Temple, along with detailed maps showing its entrances within 200 feet from both the entrances to the hotel. The Committee recognized the distance to the Temple at Canal and Allen and recommended that the SLA further investigate. Said Yeh, “the SLA Committee should have recognized the temple as an integral part of the community and asked the applicant to withdraw its application, as it has with other hotel applications. Why did the Committee then agree to most of the applicant’s terms?”

The full board will vote on the matter at the end of the month.

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