One of the more blatant examples of problems in recent New York City real estate development has been the so-called "Tower of Bowery" located above an old gas station on 3rd Street and the Bowery. When the building first started to rise up its developers used every trick in the book to build the largest building they possibly could (for instance claiming that they were going to have faculty housing they built extra tall... but no school was ever involved with the building and no faculty will ever move in). As it became increasingly clear that something was really wrong on 3rd street the neighborhood went into action. Specifically, one Mr. Kevin Shea submitted a protest to the Department of Buildings pointing out the myriad problems with the tower, as built and as originally planned. The troubles for the tower piled nearly as tall as the building itself, and eventually the original developers bailed from the project and sold it to new owners.
Those new owners, planning to turn the building into a "boutique hotel" quickly went to work trying to rectify a number of the wrongs in the original monstrosity. First to go was the original puke colored facade and standard windows. But it seems that was just the beginning. Shea explains just what changes the new owners have made in a letter he sent to the Board of Standards and Appeals earlier this week [PDF]. Not only has the hotel re-filed its plans and made good-faith attempts to appease its neighbors but
In addition, the hotel has agreed to provide space within its building to the Culture Project, one of the City's most prominent Off-Broadway theater companies. The Culture Project's Bleecker Street home is around the corner from the hotel, and the hotel has agreed to provide catering services and a yearly allotment hotel rooms to house its visiting actors and theater professionals.
Perhaps most significantly, in recognition that property owners as well as residents have a vital interest in assuring even-handed and full compliance with the City's zoning and building laws, the hotel has agreed to make a $150,000 contribution to fund a not-for-profit approach to work for the responsible development of the East Village.
To which we say: Nice. While we wish the Tower of Bowery had been a better building from the get-go, there are worse things to see then people recognizing their faults and at least making good faith efforts to deal with them.
Tower Of Bowery by jschumacher on flickr.