Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Back on the map?

Lower East Side megadeveloper AvalonBay is in negotiations with the city to take over a sliver of street near its large residential projects in the area for retail operations.

Extra Place — an unmapped stretch just east of the Bowery that intersects the north side of E. First St., adjacent to the Avalon Bowery development — is currently owned by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which has not maintained upkeep of the alleyway, according to AvalonBay.

AvalonBay plans to secure ownership of Extra Place from H.P.D. to renovate the block with paving work, drainage and lighting installation, before bringing in about four to six smaller retail tenants, said Fred Harris, the builder’s senior vice president of development.

“We just want to be able to fix it up and make it a public place,” Harris said, noting AvalonBay isn’t seeking exclusive ownership of the street. Niche-type stores, such as clothing and jewelry shops — “like the typical small shop in the East Village” — and cafes with outdoor seating will eventually sprout after renovations take place, Harris added.

“The goal,” he explained, “is to animate the space and give it back to the neighborhood.”

Making noise in Soho

Developers of a new high-rise hotel going up in Soho will meet with the community this week to discuss their request for a trio of liquor licenses for the property.

According to the Soho Alliance, developers are planning to build a 10-story hotel above a two-story base at the site of the former Moondance Diner at 27 Grand St. at Sixth Ave. The hotel’s revised liquor license application calls for three bars at the location — one on the ground floor, another on a patio area about 20 feet above street level and a third on the hotel’s rooftop.

“All three bars will have amplified music, which could spread for blocks around,” read a notice from Alliance Director Sean Sweeney, whose group has sparred in court another nearby establishment, the jazz venue Lola, over the impacts of its live music. He added that one of the hotel’s proposed bars will operate right next to residents’ windows, and that outdoor music is unacceptable as far as he’s concerned.

“You don’t need music to have a drink. I’m sorry,” Sweeney told Mixed Use. “If you think people are going to come to your hotel to listen to some half-assed deejay’s music choice, you’re wrong.”

The project is being built as of right, but the State Liquor Authority will make the final decision concerning the license applications. The community meeting is planned for 7 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 25, on the fifth floor of 125 Greene St.

Lucky for Times Square

Venerable East Village drag dinner club Lucky Cheng’s has grown too big for its sequined britches and will move to the more tourist-friendly environs of Times Square after 15 years on First Ave.

The restaurant, long a favorite for bachelor(ette) and birthday parties for its cross-dressing wait staff, has become such a tourist destination that owner Hayne Suthon has decided to bring it to a more mainstream neighborhood.

In an interview with nightlife impresario Steve Lewis, Suthon acknowledged that the club “really belongs in Times Square at this point,” where she can add more nightly shows.

“One thing that’s happened with Times Square is that it’s become its own bubble city,” Suthon said on Lewis’s Web site, Good Night Mr. Lewis. “The tourists go there and want to see…all of the shows, and the ones that wanted to see Lucky Cheng’s no longer want to venture outside the bubble. I used to get all kinds of concierge referrals and a lot of tourists, but they don’t come here anymore even though they know where we are.”

Suthon also rued the loss of New York City’s nightlife culture, saying current and recent administrations have sought to clamp down on the hospitality business by engendering local community boards with more decision-making power.

“It’s because so much [power] was given to the community boards that it’s almost difficult to take that back,” she said. “They scream and they yell. I mean you’ll see at the community boards the women with the gray bobs, the red, square glasses trying to be stylish, with hand-knit sweaters and the socks with the Birkenstocks, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, if they’re there for me I’m dead.’ ”

Wasting away in BurritoVille

After closing one of its chain restaurants in the East Village last month, Tex-Mex fast-food eatery BurritoVille appears to have folded the whole enchilada, including three locations in Lower Manhattan.

The Zagat-rated chain, which first opened in 1992, had 11 locations throughout Manhattan, including the ones at Chambers, Water and Nassau Sts.

Calls to different BurritoVille addresses throughout the city have yielded no response, but restaurant president and C.E.O. Jeffrey Bernstein said last week he hoped to have the restaurants reopened “within a week or two,” acknowledging he “can’t say too much right now.”

However, the eatery’s official Web site went down last week, and online listings for its various addresses have indicated the chain has officially gone out of business.

Now Wall Streeters still reeling from last week’s meltdown can’t even nosh on a Mega Soy Burrito? Dios mio.