Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why the future of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge may be in doubt

Uh-oh. 75 St. Mark's Place hit the market yesterday. It's initial asking price: $4.6 million. Here's the Corcoran listing, which is full of passages that give us the fear:

This is a rare opportunity to own a premium mixed use building on St. Marks Place. Located between 1st and 2nd Avenues, and home to the famous Holiday Cocktail Lounge, 75 St. Marks Place stands out as an excellent and flexible financial investment. The building has been owned by one family since 1973, meticulously cared for and in excellent condition. It contains the Holiday Cocktail Lounge on the ground floor (scene of innumerable TV and film shoots), 4 free market, 1400 square-foot apartments, one of which was completely renovated this year. The remaining three residential units are 2 bedroom + home office, one bathroom apartments, and are substantially below market rent, offering significant upside potential. All are very attractive, with soaring ceilings, Southern exposure, and large enough to feel like a home to any occupant. Two apartments are month-to-month, with the third lease expiring early 2012 so the rent roll is poised to increase substantially. The commercial lease is controlled by the owner, so it can be delivered vacant or the Holiday Cocktail Lounge continued. It is a long-run financial success made all the more valuable by considerable additional income as a film location. In addition, with a 4.0 FAR, there are ample air rights to expand in the event of a condo conversion, a great alternative given the paucity of condos in the area.

Got all that? One family has owned it since 1973 ... rent increase ... delivered vacant ... condo conversion. Good lord. Might as well set up the dumpster out front tomorrow morning.

OK, OK so no reason to get all doomsdayish... yet. The listing does seem to flatter the Holiday, calling it "famous" and "a long-run financial success." Encouraging? Promising?

The Holiday kept going after Stefan's passing in early 2009. While the Holiday has undergone a few changes (some cheesy promotions, several new full-screen TVs that attract the sportos), it's still a classic bar rich with East Village history.

Stefan opened the Holiday here in 1965. (It had been a bar since 1936.) Read more about the bar at Jeremiah's Vanishing New York here ...

And now, a walk-off passage from an article by former East Village resident Mike Hudson in the Niagra Falls Reporter a few years back:

[L]ike many Manhattan dives the Holiday Lounge had its writers.

For years Allen Ginsberg had a large apartment in a building almost directly across the street, and he and other Beat writers like Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso and Herbert Huncke spent considerable time with the bookies, dope dealers, working girls and alcoholics for whom the Holiday was a second home.

[adm on Flickr via JVNY]


Jeremiah Moss said...

i feel ill...

Stedman said...

The real estate listing is greed on the hook of a fishing pole.


Shawn said...

Nooooooooooooooooooooo I love Dave and Holiday Cocktail Lounge!

One of the very best !@#$% bars around here! We have to save this place!


Marty Wombacher said...

Coming soon, IHOP number three. Ugh.

francesca said...

Manhattan is soon going to be condos ringed by projects. Until those are converted too.

I'm sure the history of Holiday will mean nothing if they aren't paying enough rent.

Caleo said...

I would assume that you SHOULD NOT hope for the best in this instance.
If you like the bar, start going more often and enjoying it while it lasts, because it will most certainly NOT LAST.
If it is even allowed to remain a bar, you can bet your last dollar that it will be gutted and renovated and begin catering to the frat brats in a big way.
And that's only if it remains a bar.
This entire process will not end until there is truly no commercial space left in Manhattan that predates
1995, and that's being generous.

esquared™ said...

soon to become holiday inn (maybe)

bowery boy said...

"...2 bedroom + home office, one bathroom apartments, and are substantially below market rent, offering significant upside potential."

This has got to be the best broker-babble I've ever read for - it's regulated so you can't charge a lot of rent now, but maybe one day you can jack it up.

glamma said...

oh jesus christ. i amstarting to think this site should be renamed EV OBITS.

blue glass said...

didn't stefan own the building?
he & his wife lived upstairs.
i think she died many years ago.

~evilsugar25 said...

@glamma. yep. it's over. we lost.

Anonymous said...

with all respects to the Lounge, I never thought I'd see the phrase "meticulously cared for and in excellent condition" in a paragraph about it

Lisa said...

I spent many, many wonderful hours at the Holiday through the 90s and the early 00s. Air rights? Does that mean building up? I hate all the new tall buildings in the EV (and don't really return very often). I'm so sorry to hear this.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I had our first date here. It was just us, Stefan and the juke.
Holiday, duct tape seats, muttering Stefan and Heineken Dark will always hold a very special place in my heart.


Anonymous said...

my sister drank a big tuff bike messenger under the table there! stay open forever, holiday, i LOVE you!!!!