Please forward to friends and neighbors.
The SoHo Alliance has been receiving emails seeking information regarding a flyer that arrived recently in the mail from a nebulous group calling itself “Fix SoHo/NoHo Zoning”.
The flyer, entitled A Letter From Your Neighbors, seeks a change to our current zoning and asks residents to sign and return the flyer to the group, who will forward it to our elected officials.
People are asking:
- Who ls behind Fix SoHo/NoHo?
- Who bankrolled this expensive, glossy mailing?
- How should we respond?
The last question is easy: Ignore the flyer and relegate it to your trash can.
According to an article in the Real Deal entitled SoHo Landlords Are Joining Forces to Win the Neighborhood’s Rezoning Fight, Fix SoHo/NoHo is comprised of “big league property owners Vornado Realty Trust, Himmel + Meringoff, Crown Acquisitions, Aurora Capitol and Olmstead Properties.” Several of these companies have operated illegal oversized retail locations here for years, creating the very problem they now ask you to solve for them.
These companies are members of REBNY, the Real Estate Board of New York, with capitalization running into the billions of dollars, none of whom are even based here and none of whom is your friend. REBNY’s position to “fix” the zoning is to allow unlimited oversized retail space in SoHo/NoHo. They want to turn your neighborhood into Herald Square.
The flyer is signed by some five dozen individuals, some of whom are our neighbors and often allies. We feel these good people were misled.
However, many of the signers are real estate professionals, a worthy occupation. However, if this group were really sincere and not self-serving, it would have revealed that fact to you.
The flyer itself is full of misrepresentations.
- Seeking to pit artist against non-artist, neighbor against neighbor in a classic divide-and-conquer stratagem, Fix SoHo/NoHo purports to have insider knowledge of the city’s plans regarding loft living, when, in fact, none of its signers were on the SoHo/NoHo Zoning Advisory Group that convened this spring. On the other hand, we who actually served on this zoning study group have absolutely no idea what the final report will state, since its authors have been keeping their findings close to the chest.
flyer also fallaciously claims SoHo/NoHo has 25,000 residents. Had they
done their homework like simply checking with the US Census Bureau
instead of concocting data, they would know that the actual number is
closer to 8,000. If Fix SoHo/NoHo cannot get that simple fact correct,
it is difficult to believe anything else this group claims to be true.
- We could go on, but how can you take seriously a group whose return address is a real-estate lawyer’s office located at 561 Broadway Avenue? Broadway Avenue??
Fix SoHo/NoHo gets down to its real agenda later on in the flyer, when It seeks increased retail options. Fine, but, again, they are being disingenuous.
do not tell you that they recently sent a letter to the City Planning
Commission seeking permission to legalize 42,000 square-feet of
oversized retail at 503 Broadway, a space that for years has been a plague to residents on Broadway and Mercer Street.
Indeed, this week the Buildings Department issued 503 Broadway thirteen violations for illegal signage with potential fines reaching $100,000, including this illegal monstrosity that besmirches our landmarked district.
Fix SoHo/NoHo says retail businesses pay taxes. True, but we residents see little of that returned to our neighborhood. So how does that benefit you?
Contrariwise, increased retail rents and commercial property sales prices are partly responsible for the increased coop/condo property taxes many of us have seen skyrocketing in the past several years, since property taxes are based partially on recent commercial sales prices in the area. Increased retail means increased property valuations means increased property taxes for us. Why didn’t Fix SoHo/NoHo tell us that?
final report from the sponsors of this spring’s zoning study is due in
October and the community board will convene a meeting in November to
hear from us on the report.
Until then, ignore the real-estate speculators of Fix SoHo/NoHo.
Please forward this email to your friends and neighbors who may not be on our list.