Category: Community Relations
Subcategory: Liquor Licenses
Problem: Norwood, a private arts-industry related club, was poised to purchase an individually designated landmark townhouse on Manhattan’s West 14th Street. The property was one of the last remaining vestiges of the neighborhood’s theatrical past and had been lovingly restored to its former glory by the previous owner. Norwood required approval for a new liquor license which was a problem since it was near several problematic night life venues. Norwood planned to utilize the property’s existing rear garden and expand the building slightly to accommodate additional guest rooms and an ADA-required elevator, which required Landmarks Preservation Commission approval. There was significant community opposition to the use of the rear garden as well as concerns about alterations to the historic exterior.
Strategy: Capalino undertook an extensive community outreach program to neighbors, community leaders and other concerned parties to clarify any open issues regarding the use of the facility, physical alterations, and to address perceived conflicts surrounding use of the rear garden. Meetings were held with multiple groups, including the Community Board and neighborhood associations, informational materials were prepared, and concerned parties were given tours of the property.
Result: Capalino eliminated all concerns that had been raised by providing thorough information and anticipating questions. Where legitimate questions were raised concerning use of the rear garden, Capalino worked with Norwood’s ownership to achieve a workable solution that satisfied all parties regarding hours of operation and noise mitigation. The Community Board approved the liquor license application, as did the State Liquor Authority. In addition, after working closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding design issues, the modifications to the structure were approved.