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Public Safety & Quality of Life

20 West 29th St./1186 Broadway @ 29th St., 1186 Broadway Tenant LLC/The Ace Hotel - application for a cabaret license

WHEREAS, 1186 BROADWAY TENANT LLC ("Licensee") has notified Community Board Five of its intention to file an application with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs for a cabaret license (the "Cabaret License") for the space known as Liberty Hall ("Liberty Hall") at the Ace Hotel, located at 1186 Broadway a//k/a 20 West 29th Street, New York, NY (the "Premises"); and

WHEREAS, in February 2008, CB5 recommended approval of a Hotel Liquor License to Licensee for the Premises (the "Hotel License"); and

WHEREAS, in July 2008, CB5 recommended approval of an On-Premises Liquor License to Friedland Breslin LLC for The Breslin restaurant at the Premises (the "Breslin License"); and

WHEREAS, in March 2010, CB5 recommended approval of an amendment to the Hotel License regarding the Corner Store Oyster Bar a/k/a the John Dory restaurant (the "Amended License"); and

WHEREAS, Liberty Hall consists of 2,452 square feet in the lower level of the Premises and has a legal occupancy of 205 persons; and

WHEREAS, the Hotel License already permits dancing in Liberty Hall at private events, but a Cabaret License would allow Liberty Hall to be open to the public for dancing; and

WHEREAS, the New York State Liquor Authority requires that an applicant stipulate the "Method of Operation" of the licensed premises including details such as: days and hours of operation, whether live music or dancing is permitted, if the premises includes an outside area, etc.; and

WHEREAS, the Method of Operation of a premises is an integral part of a liquor license application to CB5 and to the SLA; and CB5 reviews and opines on such applications in strict reliance upon the specific Method of Operation agreed to by an applicant; and

WHEREAS, in strict reliance upon the Method of Operation for the Premises which did not include cabaret, CB5 recommended approval of the Hotel License, the Breslin License, and the Amended License; and

WHEREAS, Licensee agreed to certain conditions and stipulations by Affidavit dated March 11, 2010, which Affidavit is attached hereto, in which Licensee agreed that the Premises will be operated exclusively as a hotel (emphasis added) with no more than two (2) restaurants, with approximately 41 tables and 180 seats for dining and 23 bar/counter stools in The Breslin and approximately no more than 12 tables and 101 seats (including banquette seating) for dining and 21 bar stools in the Corner Store Oyster Bar; and

WHEREAS, in said Affidavit, Licensee also agreed to the following conditions/stipulations (emphasis added):

a.       operate the Premises as a hotel with room service and mini bars and no more than two (2) restaurants with seated bar and dining service;

b.       not use any outside promoters at any time and the Licensee shall at all times remain responsible for and in complete control of the Premises and its patrons and all material positions of operations shall be the employees of the Licensee at all time;

c.       continue to maintain its dedicated security personnel at the Premises and provide additional security Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to (i) maintain order both inside and outside of the Premises; (ii) ensure that patrons enter and leave the Premises in a peaceful, quiet and respectful manner, and (iii) discourage patrons from congregating outside the Premises.  Security personnel shall be employees of Licensee, or if third-party security personnel are used, such personnel shall at all times be directed and supervised by employees of Licensee;

d.       strictly comply with and adhere to the plans for the operation of the business, as set forth herein;

e.       not utilize an exterior "velvet rope" door policy, provided that exterior queuing required for purposes of maintaining legal capacity shall be permitted so long as Licensee has an employee responsible for maintaining the orderliness of patrons;

f.        discourage customers from loitering outside the Premises at any time;

g.       not utilize DJ's in the restaurants of the hotel (though DJ's may be used in event space in the hotel);

h.       meet with neighbors and CB5 if requested and shall provide a 24-hour hotline to a live manager or owner to immediately address any complaints from the community; and

i.         Arrange for private garbage pickup and its garbage will be stored in a manner so as not to cause a disturbance or annoyance to its neighbors; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the Premises, there are approximately five (5) new hotels in this area, all of which have respected the character of this neighborhood and the desire of the community of which they are a part, by agreeing that their Method of Operation not include cabaret; and

WHEREAS, Approving a Cabaret License for this hotel would set a damaging precedent for this community; and

WHEREAS, Letters of strong opposition from the community have been received by CB5 and residents from the area attended the Public Safety/Quality of Life Committee Meeting on June 3, 2010 to voice their strong opposition to the Cabaret License, citing present concerns of street vehicular congestion, horns honking, rowdy patrons exiting in early morning hours, and stating that a Cabaret License is irreconcilably incompatible with the quality of life in and character of their neighborhood; and

WHEREAS, now after CB5 has approved the Hotel License, the Breslin License, and the Amended License, all in reliance upon a Method of Operation that did not include cabaret, Licensee plans to (i) obtain a Cabaret License and (ii) unilaterally modify its Method of Operation to accommodate dancing pursuant to a Cabaret License; and

WHEREAS, the timing of this plan is unfortunate since, with the Hotel License, the Breslin License, and the Amended License already approved, the community is now left with little, if any, leverage to help its voice be heard; and

WHEREAS, Licensee has publicly promised to defy the community's wishes by pursuing (i) its Cabaret License and (ii) modification of its Method of Operation to accommodate dancing in Liberty Hall pursuant to a Cabaret License, despite overwhelming community opposition to such changes; and

WHEREAS, Because of (i) substantial community opposition to Licensee's planned changes, (ii) the potential violation of prior representations by Licensee on which CB5 relied to approve the Hotel License, the Breslin License, and the Amended License, and (iii) the damaging precedent that will be set by allowing this "hotel" to operate with a Cabaret License, CB5 cannot support Licensee's proposed changes; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that Community Board Five STRONGLY RECOMMENDS DENIAL by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs of an application by 1186 BROADWAY TENANT LLC for a Cabaret License at 1186 Broadway a//k/a 20 West 29th Street, New York, NY; and be it further

RESOLVED, that Community Board Five STRONGLY RECOMMENDS DENIAL by the New York State Liquor Authority of any modification by 1186 BROADWAY TENANT LLC to its Method of Operation to accommodate dancing pursuant to a Cabaret License at 1186 Broadway a//k/a 20 West 29th Street, New York, NY.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 36 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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