Friday, January 30, 2015

Latest Info On Roosevelt island Main Street Retail From Master Leaseholder Hudson Related - Trellis Renovation Delay, Possible Move Of Card Shop To Smaller Space, New Day Care Tenant, No More Summer Eleanor's Pier On Waterfront & More

 Image Of Trellis Diner Behind Construction

Here's the latest on Roosevelt Island Main Street retail store news.

Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related's representative Arianna Sacks Rosenberg briefed and answered questions from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors and members of the community during last night's RIOC Real Estate Advisory Committee meeting (audio web cast of meeting will be here).

The meeting began with RIOC Director Howard Polivy establishing the ground rules for the meeting and introducing Ms. Rosenberg.

Ms. Rosenberg reviewed progress made  to date including signing 9 new leases with these tenants:
  • Wholesome Factory,
  • New York Public Library,
  • Island Wines,
  • Subway Sandwiches,
  • Main Street Sweets,
  • Urgent Care Medical Center,
  • the Trellis and Gallery RIVAA renewals and
confirmed the signing of a new lease with a Day Care Center at 568 Main Street.

Ms. Rosenberg said they are talking with other retailers including restaurants and "non profit types" for the 6 existing vacant spaces.

Among the other issues discussed were:
  • Is the rent sought by Hudson Related too high for potential Roosevelt Island tenants? Ms Rosenberg said no.
  • Ugly empty storefront windows - asked Hudson Related to make windows more attractive with signage or temporary installations
  • Card and Gift Shop lease expired and being offered smaller space at 615 Main Street (former Boy Scout Storage Space) and 507 Main Street (former Chiropractor's office)
  • Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Main Street Retail Committee input.

  • Ugly Trellis plywood construction shed,
  • Concern that Hudson Related leasing program is waiting for completion of Cornell Campus,
  • Bleak view down Main Street Arcade,
  • Deterioration Of Main Street Arcade, new paint is chipping,
  • Benches at Roosevelt Landings should be turned around facing street instead of facing building,
  • Fresh new sidewalks for Northtown, remove the Z Bricks,
  • Trellis renovation construction problems caused by discovery of unknown structural wall,
  • Perception by some that Hudson Related Main Street retail improvements were being done for the benefit of their Southtown buildings

  • Neither H-R, Trellis or Island House owner knew about the structural wall before demolition began and
  • New Day Care tenant at 546 Main Street is a woman who has operated day care facility in Roosevelt Island apartment but may not be currently doing so.

We also learned the unfortunate news that Hudson Related is not bringing back the Eleanor's Pier waterfront restaurant this summer.

I hope RIOC has some plans for bringing another restaurant or food service of some kind to the Pier this summer.


Frank Farance said...

Rick, H-R is not telling you the truth and is doing their job incompetently. Essentially, H-R hasn't been sharing construction documents with the building owner, had that occurred in advance of construction, then it would have been obvious there was a problem. Ditto for the Owner's concerns about freezing conditions that would have left 5 apartment lines (approximately 80 apartments) exposed, including potential bursting of water/sewer lines ... H-R did not respond to those urgent concerns. With RIOC General Counsel and Director of Engineering in the loop, David Kramer and Arianna Sacks of H-R seem more responsive.

As I've said, it has been reported to me by someone who has seen the documents that H-R signed the DOB permits as the building's *owner*, which is a misrepresentation of their status.

In the Owner's E-mail of November 17, 2014, with Kramer and Sacks included, he states:

"... This once again highlights why renovations in the retail spaces should be done with advance consultation with the building and the building's consultants. ..."

This whole talk about not knowing it was a structural wall is baloney.

And you have to ask yourself: with a merchant and a general contractor spending lots of bucks on construction and a loss of revenue for the merchant ... now what business value-add does H-R bring if they're going to give the OK on construction when they don't know what's behind the walls? And cause much significant rework because of H-R's unwillingness to do its due diligence on construction plans? What value does it have that H-R signs the permits if they make no effort to understand the construction?

Meanwhile, had we not had the Retail Master Lease, RIOC would have consulted with the Owner and their consultants and Trellis would have had a clear sense of what was behind the walls BEFORE construction.

Recklessness and incompetence by H-R. Oh yeah, and they farm everything else out ... really, what value does H-R add?

APS said...

All pretty dismal news. Never thought Trellis would reopen. Most disappointing is the lame retail development. Another childcare place? Really? Eleanor's Pier was a lose lose to begin with. Unless they allow food trucks to come to the Island without a ridiculous permit fee, we will never have anything worthwhile there. There needs to be a draw, and tables and chairs with ice cream and arepas just doesn't cut it.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I like the idea of having permanent seating in that area during the summer. In addition allow vendors to put up stands/tables along the wall and you have a nice hang-out. I thought last year's implementation was quite okay.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Shouldn't H-R, as in charge of all retail space on Main Street, have the blueprints of all the properties they manage?

"... RIOC would have consulted with the Owner and their consultants ..."

This is a very surprising statement coming from you. Since when do you trust the RIOC to do the right thing? According to all your complaints about the RIOC you should expect the RIOC to perform just as or worse than H-R.

"... really, what value does H-R add ..."

This is how capitalism work.

CheshireKitty said...

H-R was obviously the "hatchet man" of the residenet RIOC Board members, who let others do their dirty work of kicking out the businesses catering to the "lower classes."

Yeah, that is how capitalism works - an iron fist (violently maximize profits and brutally get rid of the poor people of the undesirable socio-economic class) while cloaking the removal as an "upgrade" or "effort to fill empty store-fronts" by genteel,soft-spoken, H-R reps such as Arianna. Who could ever imagine "such nice people" would ever be involved in what amounts to "cleansing" Main St of the "undesirable elements" by removing the only stores they can afford to patronize, the only stores where they do not get the stink-eye from the yuppies.

Kramer enjoys sending Arianna and the other non-"threatening" H-R reps to convey the same snow-job information year after year to both RIOC and RIRA, while the real intent of their effort, the mandate they received from the resident RIOC Board members, was evident from day 1: Removal of the poor from Main St - transformation of RI from a mixed-income community to an upper-class, gentrified enclave. Removal of the poor "unattractive" folks in favor of the rich "genteel" people - the better to mesh with the campus where an education is going to be reserved for those who can afford it, perpetuating the socioeconomic divisions that led to the formation of the underclass in the first place. Removal of the poor, to "burnish" the image of the community as an upscale enclave, the better to market the properties. In this scenario, the poor are sold out again and again - sacrificed finally on the altar of profits, as you say "This is how capitalism work."

What does H-R add? It adds value to Main St in removing the poor, as the powers-that-be prefer. It's quite possible the powers-that-be do not want a reincarnated Trellis on Main St anymore, since it was a standby restaurant for the socio-economic class the resident RIOC Board members want to see removed from RI. Perhaps they are hoping Kai and Alex will give up and new tenants will be found who will pay a much higher rent: To pass along the exorbitant rent cost to the consumer, they will have to offer a much more expensive menu of items, effectively excluding the poor (the desired result as far as RIOC resident Board members are concerned, and the reason they came up with the Master Lease program in the first place).

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: And by that reasoning, RIOC should have blueprints, too, which they don't, and becomes a documentation synchronization nightmare. Simply, it's H-R's lack of sharing construction documents and making use of in-house building knowledge. Maybe a better question is: shouldn't the building owner have the blueprints of the merchants in their space?

And it's H-R's misrepresentation of themselves as "owner" (as I've heard) in the DOB permitting that, in the end, results in:

- Trellis construction hitting a dead end
- at the cost of safety to Island House residents
- at no cost to H-R

I hope Trellis sues their butts.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: Sorry, my answer was incomplete. You ask: "Since when do you trust the RIOC to do the right thing?". In the past, RIOC consulted with the Owner and their consultants, such as the 19-story vent from the dry cleaners (not visible on Main Street side of Island House), and other efforts.

The reason RIOC would have done a better job is that RIOC had no expectation that they had any skill in this area (building construction), so they would have the building owner directly engaged ... rather than, in the case of Trellis, H-R having the gumption to sign as the building owner (as reported to me).

H-R has their own in-house Dept Of Bldg expediters, which I believe they charge the merchants for their service ... the merchants are required to use the H-R expediters rather than going to DOB directly. Not yet sure how this figures into the problems, it is worthy of investigation.

YetAnotherRIer, you say "This is how capitalism work". If you carefully read what I wrote, I am in agreement: the fundamental economic transaction involves an exchange of things of value, which is why I framed it as "what value does H-R add?".

OldRossie said...

You must be exhausted. Trying to turn everything into class warfare takes a very creative form of psychosis.

CheshireKitty said...

Not really: I've been at it - sticking it to the yuppies and fascists - since I was a child, as I learned about the exploitation of the masses and the evils perpetrated on Black folk since the time of slavery, at my momma's knee. I have no problem whatsoever calling out the injustice of unfair gentrification, exploitation, inequality, and disenfranchisement - whenever it's apparent and wherever it might exist - on an ongoing basis, since I've been at it for many years and intend to proudly keep at it as long as I live. Why should telling the truth about communal affairs tire me out? It must be you who are tired Rossie, keeping up the heartless facade day in and day out, as if you're the superior one, and the rest mere peons. Is that what your momma taught you, Rossie? How long have you been a heartless neo-con?

It must indeed be horrifying for you - a heartless neo-con - to be living in NYS,with its line-up of populist, liberal politicians. It must make your skin crawl to have as Mayor Bill di Blasio, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, much less as President Barack Obama. But, the fact is, more and more people have gotten wise to the unfairness of your way of looking at things - the greed that undergirds your outlook - and are looking for a politics that promotes everyone instead of beating them down through exploitation. Populism is ascendant now, in NYS and many other progressive localities, whether or not it's to your taste.

You might be happier living in a "pure" part of the country, an area more amenable to potato-heads like you, such as Idaho. Millions of us lumpen types be eagerly waiting to hear the joyful news of your departure, Rossie. Don't let us down and above all don't let the door hit you on the way out.

OldRossie said...

Call me whatever you like, my bitter little friend, your ramblings are as valuable as silence and even less impactful to the injustices you've invented. As per usual, your assumptions of the political opinions of others are misguided, your prejudices and racism are apparent and your ability to bring a conversation to a screeching halt by throwing your delusions into play remains your strongest attribute.

CheshireKitty said...

That's fine Rossie: Like I said, there are plenty of places in the "Heartland" for folks like you. There you can sit around with the bubbas and eye the cornfields and mountains, secure in your own little Eagle's Nest surrounded by like-minded people.

If I am bitter about injustice, so are the millions suffering in NYC today - about half of whom are poor. Do you suggest they rent luxury apartments when they can't - because the boss only pays minimum wage, which can't possible pay for market rate rents? Do you suggest they sleep in the shelters? Or find places in projects? Projects have long waiting lists, and shelters are over-taxed. Oh, but the 50% of New Yorkers who are poor, shouldn't be bitter - so that your little guilty conscience would be untroubled by the consequences of your greed. The poor should rejoice in their poverty and exploitation, right? You are the deluded one, Rossie: Because you are a yuppie, and a racist one at that, you feel everyone should be a yuppie - miraculously change ethnicity and "join the mainstream" of higher wages. That isn't about to happen - it hasn't happened since way back when - because exploitation won't ever let it happen. Money cannot be made without exploiting low-wage workers, either in the service industries or manufacturing; hence the drift of businesses to low-wage areas, where the prevailing wages are much lower than in the US ("slave wages"). The more exploitation, the more money business makes. The system is based on exploitation, and then, on top of that, the few dollars people eke out are supposed to be poured into "market rate rents!" Do you expect the poor to laugh or cry (since I know you don't want them to be bitter)?