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Public Safety & Quality of Life

9 West 19th Street, Blas Group LLC and/or Henry Blaylock and/or Richard Lusardi and/or Paul Leblin, application for a new on-premises liquor license

WHEREAS, The applicant, Blas Group LLC and/or Henry Blaylock and/or Richard Lusardi and/or Paul Leblin, has notified Community Board Five of its intent to apply for a new on-premises liquor license for a new restaurant to be located at 9 West 19th Street; and

WHEREAS, The initial application was presented to the Public Safety Quality of Life Committee in July proposing a new restaurant in a space formerly operated as a bookstore, containing 2,150 square feet of space on the ground floor and basement of the premises, with 40 tables, 130 chairs and 10 bar stools, and a total capacity of 150; and 

WHEREAS, The initial application included plans to have a dj, operating hours until 4:00 AM, and other characteristics not usually seen in applications for use as a restaurant; and

WHEREAS, Since the application was incomplete in that it did not contain a floor plan of the space, a proposed menu, and other items inquired about by committee members, the applicant requested that the hearing on the application be postponed and such request was granted; and

WHEREAS, Reconsideration at the September committee meeting again found the application incomplete since items requested by the committee at the previous hearing, including the use and transfer provisions of the proposed lease, were not provided, inaccuracies were found in part, with the floor plan and layout being misleadingly not drawn to scale, which resulted in the applicant again requesting that the hearing on the application be postponed and such request was granted; and

WHEREAS, The committee was concerned that the revised plans showed reduced hours, a reduced number of tables and chairs, and an inexpensive menu, yet provided for expensive renovations and construction, and questioned how the applicant would make ends meet with fewer hours, fewer tables, inexpensive food and very high construction costs; and

WHEREAS,  The applicant stated that they would rely on alcohol sales for their income while breaking even on the food, that one of the principals would himself manage the restaurant and tend bar, and that the chef would be paid on a profit-sharing basis; and 

WHEREAS, The committee expressed concern and believes that this was an unrealistic plan, unlikely to succeed and was also concerned that one of the principals is in the finance industry and has no experience owning or operating restaurants and, although the other one of the principals has prior experience as part of teams opening and managing other bars and restaurants, the applicant does not have the necessary business experience or acumen needed for the proposed endeavor or to be granted the privilege and responsibility of holding a liquor license; and

WHEREAS, The proposed new restaurant, although seemingly small at 2,150 square feet, is in a space formerly operated as a bookstore and members of the public objected to the issuance of yet another liquor license in an area already overwhelmed by an inordinate number of licensed establishments; and

WHEREAS, The proposed location on 19th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is one block from the "Moratorium Area" - an area of CB5 so oversaturated by licensed premises so as to constitute a blight on the community, causing excruciating and unbearable disturbance to the neighborhood and causing the New York City Police Department to establish a special outpost in the area to help control the crowds, noise, violence (including shootings and stabbings), attributed to the existing licensed establishments that plague the area; and 

WHEREAS, Since 19th Street has been taking on the characteristics of the Moratorium Area one block away and, for some time, residents of 19th Street have been requesting that CB5 extend the Moratorium Area to include 19th Street, CB 5 believes that adding a new liquor license in this location is not in the best interest of the community; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends DENIAL of the on-premises liquor license by Blas Group LLC and/or Henry Blaylock and/or Richard Lusardi and/or Paul Leblin for a new on-premises liquor license for a restaurant to be located at 9 West 19th Street.

The above resolution passedby a vote of 32 in favor; 1 opposed; 1 abstaining; 1 present not entitled to vote.

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