Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Report: The Honey Fitz on hold; and RIP Nino's


[EVG photo from November]

As previously reported, a cocktail bar-restaurant-co-working freelance/Wifi space called The Honey Fitz is in the works for the former Hop Devil Grill and the temporarily closed Nino's Pizza storefront on St. Mark's Place and Avenue A.

The proprietors, James Morrissey (The Late Late on East Houston) and Gerard McNamee (GM of Webster Hall), pitched the concept before CB3's SLA committee last night.

For starters, a quick recap about Nino's, the longtime pizzeria on the corner.

Nino's had to close on Oct. 21 due to a gas leak in the building, according to a sign on the door. On Nov. 17, the pizzeria was hit with an eviction notice. Owner Nino Camaj has said that the gas was shut off in the building without any notice to him.

In late November, Camaj's lawyers were reportedly in discussion with landlord Citi Urban Management to dispute the rent charged for the month during which they had to close due to the gas leak. Camaj still has 10 years left on his lease, and had been in court with the landlords.

However, before last night's CB3-SLA meeting, a tipster told us that Camaj had accepted a low six-figure amount to walk away from his lease and surrender the space. We'll have more about this development later.

As for The Honey Fitz. BoweryBoogie was at the meeting, and reports that in the face of a CB3 committee denial, The Honey Fitz team withdrew their proposal for another month.

Here are two passages from BoweryBoogie's coverage:

District Manager Susan Stetzer made sure the room understood her position that removing Nino’s for a business locals unanimously reject is unacceptable. The decades-old pizzeria has been shuttered for months because landlord Citi-Urban Management shut gas to the whole building (i.e. purported leak), and even residents are without the utility.

And!

The panel quickly filed behind Stetzer on this one, and was collectively incensed that Nino’s Pizza was not only being forced out, but that these operators were content to side with a landlord who acts in such wanton manner. Seeing the imminent denial at hand, the applicant team employed the strategy of withdrawing. Keeping the board and the opposition on ice for another month to reassess “given the situation with Nino.”

Read BoweryBoogie's full coverage here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Honey Fitz in the works for St. Mark's Place and Avenue A (54 comments)

Gas leak closes Nino's for now

Nino's and Yoshi Sushi served with eviction notices on Avenue A

Encouraging signs at Nino's

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's with pizza places and newsstands being forced out of the EV.
Not a question!

Gojira said...

Absolutely vile.

Anonymous said...

Shit is getting real down at the old CB3 meetaronie.

I can't see how a new bussniess is going to pump 100's of K into a fit out, Ina building that has no gas... Or do they actually think once they are in the gas will suddenly come back on... Lol, yeah, ok then.

Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting -- Nino's was a big issue but by no means the only problem with this application. The proposal to put a large, late-night, alcohol-oriented business in a saturated area, in storefronts that are not currently licensed (and never were, in Nino's case) remains unacceptable separate from the equally wrong Nino's situation.

Anonymous said...

So Nino's as well as the tenants of the building have been without gas all this time? Why isn't the city doing something about this? Especially in the wake of what happened on 7th and Second Avenue.

Tom Stir said...

Pizza out because of gas problem?
What a coincidence,.??
NOT....!!!
This reeks of being rigged .
SHADY LANDLORD
Strangle unwanted tenant,
Make way for new tenent.
Paying Higher Rent
City HELLO???

Anonymous said...

Nino's was my first slice in NY 15 years ago. Fuck everyone.

Anonymous said...

Ninos is happy to walk away with payoff and CB3 is not happy? Perhaps they are upset they did not a slice of the pizza pie.

Anonymous said...

If any single member of the CB3's SLA committee lived nearby this spot the issue would be rejected in a heartbeat. What is keeping these less than legal happening from continuing, fraud, bribes?

If this new millennial shit hole ever opens I suggest anyone and everyone take advantage of the free wifi as in park yourself inside, bring your own drinks and lunch and occupy. Let's see how this business plan changes into yet another sports bar in the old bait and switch.

Anonymous said...

I was at the SLA subcommittee meeting last night, and I am furious. It is a pity that the Honey Fitz people were allowed to withdraw their application at the last second instead of receiving a well deserved denial - which was imminent to be handed to them. (I have to defend the SLA committee here, tey were about to vote, and an earlier straw poll showed an united stand against Honey Fitz) What a waste of all our time for these games. A big kudos to Susan Stezer for researching and pointing out all the questionable goings-on about these premises.

If an enterprise starts out on these shady premises like Honey Fitz, I can't see them being good operators and neighbors. Nino gets bought out on the night of the SLA subcommittee meeting after stern warnings by his own laywer not to speak at the meeting? Days before he had stated he wanted to come and speak and present his 10 year lease at the meeting. Honey Fitz applicant presents the "fresh in" buyout-letter from Nino on his cell phone to the committee? I am not judging Nino's decision, but I do judge the methods of operation of the Honey Fitz Team and the landlord.

Gas is blocked since August 2014 for everyone in the building and the landlord doesn't even communicate with ConEd? Why was it shut off in the first place? I don't want to insinuate something, BUT how is Nino supposed to make his rent if you take his gas away and don't even make a move in half a year to restore it though you are supposed to?

Why does Honey Fitz state at the SLA meeting they had the place marketed as empty and free to them though they knew for weeks that Nino still had a 10 year lease? This all stinks to heavens.

Yuck! It looks like some really nice people are coming here to open a 20-hour-a-day operation. When will your throat ever be stuffed?

At last, all of this doesn't even touch the other legal problems out of the gate: Of the FOUR addresses they want to occupy, NONE has a beer/wine license. The location of Hop Devil lost the license because they got evicted. The location is in an over-saturated area - CB3 policy doesn't allow any new licenses in this area. There are 17 full liquor licenses within 500 ft, so where is the fucking benefit? Printers and WiFi during the day? And having "young professionals" sitting around for hours without consuming anything makes the rent pay, I wonder. Why don't you go to the next New York Public Library (there is one right at TSP if you ever went that far east! And another one on 2nd Ave), and work there, or get a job where you get an office space, you "young professionals", and work there if you can't be stuffed in your overpriced shared apartments. I am so fed up with this BS.

We have a full blown quality of life issue here. If we get this humongous operation there, Ave A / St. Marks will get even more night traffic as a drinking destination. This area has a rich history, it always went through changes. But do we really have to let this go to the dogs again? Is a trashy, noisy money machine what we want or have to live in here? Here are still some people living (and sometimes even trying to sleep). We don't want or need more drunks yelling like apes throughout the night, more honking cabs, trash trucks all night, street fights and all of this pest. Another boozing destination spot will just add more overflow of noisy, despicable people roaming the neighborhood throughout night into the wee morning hours. Thanks a lot. Honey Fitz, why don't ya take it home to Ireland?

a resident

Anonymous said...

Speaking of CB3, has anyone any updates regarding the NYC Dept of Health "Attacking Rat Reservoirs" initiative in CB3? Esp. how they are handling Tompkins Sq Park? Has anyone had any contact with Neighborhood Case Manager Angela Lee-Stravitz 646-856-2499 alee7@health.nyc.gov?
The response of piling on wood chips on top of nesting holes did nothing as well as the rat resistant wire dug in near bathrooms. Just wondering before Spring arrives with its new baby rat explosion.

Giovanni said...

Like I said before, this is Webster Hall East. All that happy talk about free Wifi and healthy breakfasts is just a front for a Webster Hall style VIP room/cocktail lounge being run by the club's owners and a landlord who wants to cash in on the heavy liquor sales this place will generate. Good for Susan Stetzer and CB3 for standing up to this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 10:40 - the CB was poised for a unanimous denial before the applicant withdrew so the CB was supportive of residents on this one, they aren't always, but on this one they were.

Anonymous said...

I stated this in the previous post about the Honey Fitz: Why can't they just take the exiting Hop Devil space? That was large enough for the Hop Devil crowd for all the years. They would be very busy during big sporting events. There is already a kitchen and plenty of room for a day crowd who may want to use the freelance services the people were talking about having like printers

Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting last night and while the issue with Nino was certainly important, it was not the only issue. The residents who spoke against the application were from the 131 Avenue A Tenants Association, and every single block association in the immediate area. So the residents who live in the building where this bar was trying to open were against this application and put it in writing, but the applicant still went forward. While residents did talk of saturation they also made the case that these storefronts are all unlicensed and that they should be preserved for retail that serves the needs of people who live here, not for transients who are here to party for a few years. The applicant was seeking to combine 4 unlicensed storefronts for one massive bar. They noted also that they told the applicant two weeks ago about the situation with Nino and perhaps more importantly about the tenants of the building who have had no gas since August, and instead of being a true neighbor as he professed to be he went forward with this landlord anyway. In terms of the people who spoke for and against, there were only two people who spoke in favor who had moved to the area a couple of years ago and complained that because their apartments were so cramped they needed places to meet friends for a drink and hang out. The Chair noted the bulk of support came from friends of the applicant and customers of the Late, Late. Residents who spoke against were all people who identified having lived in the immediate area for many years and that there were more than enough places for people to drink and hang out. So because of the actions of this applicant as one Board member put it “Nino got an offer he couldn’t refuse” and instead of staying and fighting he is leaving. If prospective business owners wouldn’t do business with greedy, terrible landlords, things can change. If people come together to oppose more liquor licenses this onslaught can be stopped, so please sign-up at the CB 3 web-site, get the calendar, see what is happening in the neighborhood and stand-up for retail diversity and a livable community, we have a choice.

cmarrtyy said...

The arrogance of money. Search and destroy. What a game of life in the EV.

Anonymous said...

@anon11:44

That's not what they want. They want to take over the whole thing and capitalize on the two new lux developments going up. They want sophistication, an expensive high end for an area of low class pigs. One of the millenials who spoke in support said something like this Thompkins area needed to be cleaned up. They were also on the agenda for the Nevada Smiths space. I don't know how that turned out? It's not just this location. They want the whole area.

Anonymous said...

Even the new pricey places are closing....

Anonymous said...

Interesting how it seems that "gas" issues are being used to evict tenants around the EV.

nygrump said...

Yeah, their idea of sophistication is a Taylor Swift download.

February 16, 2016 at 1:16 AM said...

I don't really understand how all these people can live in NYC and not embrace change...

Anonymous said...

Trust you me, I was there. The residents opposing blasted them. One guy told Morrissey that what happened on second Avenue, because of greedy landlords, was dispicable and so was he.

blue glass said...

February 16, 2016 at 1:16 AM said...
I don't really understand how all these people can live in NYC and not embrace change...
there is always change, everywhere in this city. just what change is it that you want the folks here to embrace?
i've lived here for over 50 years and welcome positive change that does not destroy the people, places and diverse character of this neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

"Camaj had accepted a low six figure amount to walk away from his lease and surrender the space" with 10 years left on these lease at over 10g a month rent he owes the landlord over well over a million, ..getting evicted would give the place for free to the landlord and why would they pay him when he owes over 1 million on the lease plus the back rent he is getting evicted for? ...sounds like bs...the landlord is the one who should be acceoting a low six figure amount to let him walk away from the lease.

Anonymous said...

@6:25 (blue glass). It's just that some people can't tell the difference between positive change and a ****storm.

Giovanni said...

"Embrace change. Now give me all your dollars."
-- Everyone's Landlord.

February 17, 2016 at 4:22 PM said...

That was sarcasm, quoting February 16, 2016 at 1:16 AM hence the italics and the link. Agree, though. Sick of the NYC is all about change or constant change excuse. But when THEIR NYC changes, their Elsa, The Beagle, Peels, Sunburnt Cow, Alder, Balducci's, Chez Jef, Tatyana... closed, or when a disaster hits, such as Sandy, instead of sticking it out and EMBRACING CHANGE, they go back home to the comfort of money, i.e., move to Greenwich or Williamsburg or The Hamptons, or other neighborhood being gentrified so that they can gentrify it some more, or back home to mommy and daddy. Also meant to put down the name in the February 17, 2016 at 4:22 PM comment as NOT February 16, 2016 at 1:16 AM said.... As you were.

Anonymous said...

If Ariel and McWater were still at CB3, Honey Fitz would've been given a full liquor license with flying colors despite of the community's objection.

Also, Lady Flocka must be devastated of this since you scooped and outed the people behind this "small business".

Anonymous said...

Ariel Palitz now works for Tower Brokerage now. Tower leased the storefront on the park to Ben Shaoul which will be used as the sales office for his monstrosity on Avenue A.

This is a good one it's like putting salt on the wound of a dead person.

http://thevillager.com/2016/02/11/theyre-privy-to-habits-of-1800s-lower-east-siders/

Shawn G. Chittle said...

So happy to see EVERYONE UNITED against Honey Fitz a 99 seat 4AM nightclub right on Tompkins Square Park?

No.
NO.
NOOOOOO.

Thank you!