Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Le Souk silenced

After countless noise complaints from residential neighbors and a long legal battle involving the State Liquor Authority, Le Souk, the club at 47 Avenue B at E. Fourth St., has gone mute since Feb. 12. According to a note posted on its door, the club shuttered for “emergency repairs,” despite operating without a liquor license for months leading up to the closure.

“This development is very good news for those of us who live in the immediate vicinity,” said Mark Hannay, one of the leaders of the E. Fourth St. Avenues A to B Block Association.

However, the disco nights have merely moved across the street to the basement of 50 Avenue B, where China 1 has expanded its themed nights from Fridays and Saturdays to include Thursdays and Sundays, Hannay said.

Le Souk first received its liquor license eight years ago and soon made weekends intolerable for neighbors. In April 2006, the S.L.A. fined the club $7,000 on 26 disciplinary charges, according to William Crowley, the agency’s spokesperson.

A year later, the club paid a $12,000 fine and accepted a 10-day liquor license suspension. Then, on March 20 of last year, the S.L.A. heard five more disciplinary charges and voted to cancel Le Souk’s liquor license. But the club operators went to State Supreme Court and won a stay of the cancellation, and the case moved on to the Appellate Division.

The stay expired on July 1, with the case still pending in the Appellate Division — so the club, in effect, was operating without a license until closing this month. A cancellation, as opposed to a license revocation, means that the operators could apply for a new liquor license for the premises. A revocation means there could be no liquor license for the location for two years. (By Albert Amateau)

Hudson Square start-ups

In an effort to encourage more start-up businesses in the Hudson Square area, Trinity Real Estate has donated 16,000 square feet of office space for new entrepreneurs looking to gain a foothold in the city.

The “new business incubator,” located at 160 Varick St. at Vandam St., will be operated by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University under a three-year lease with Trinity. 

The incubator follows on the city’s initiatives to attract and retain new businesses, and N.Y.U.-Poly will oversee the screening process for prospective tenants, as well as pay operating costs.

The start-ups will pay a monthly rent of $200 per person to cover expenses. Both Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters have agreed to provide data feeds at no cost, and N.Y.U. partners will offer mentoring services, business seminars and networking opportunities for tenants.

“N.Y.U.-Poly is committed to using applied science and technology to create new services, companies and jobs in this time of economic distress,” said Jerry Hultin, president of N.Y.U.-Poly, in a statement.

A second business incubator is also scheduled to open elsewhere in Lower Manhattan later in the year.

“Hudson Square is home to a vibrant and dynamic cross section of creative companies and is an ideal location for new entrepreneurs to test their ideas and cultivate their talents,” added Carl Weisbrod, Trinity Real Estate president.

Bedbug blight

The City Council held a joint public hearing this week to address concerns over the growing number of bedbug infestations, with three new bills currently proposed to stem the scourge citywide.

Led by Councilmember Gale Brewer, the measures’ primary sponsor, the Council’s Committees on Consumer Affairs, Sanitation and Health met Feb. 24 to discuss the city’s mechanisms for increasing public education, resources and consumer awareness in choosing informed exterminating services.   

The trio of bills recommend creating a “Bedbug Task Force”; prohibiting the sale of reconditioned mattress; creating a protocol for the proper disposal of infected mattresses, and requiring the Department of Health to establish a bedbug-technique training program for pest-control professionals and building owners.

Last year, Brewer worked with the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development to hold a series of bedbug public-education seminars. 

“It’s great that we’re not smoking as much, and not eating trans fats,” Brewer said, “but we need to focus on bedbugs in the same aggressive manner.”