For those unaware of the life and legacy of late Manhattan land baron Bill Gottlieb, this 2008 Key magazine feature, "The Tightwad's Legacy," is recommended reading. No time? Here's the Cliffs Notes: Gottlieb bought up scores of properties and buildings, mostly in the West Village, and left them to rot (like this one!), a practice continued by his family members even as downtown property values soared. But are we on the verge of a new era of Gottlieb activity? Nolita's incoming Shake Shack, Eater informed us, will be in a new one-story building constructed on a small former parking lot at 47 Prince Street (above, seen last week). A piece of land that is, yes indeed, part of the Gottlieb portfolio. The Gottliebs actually building something new? Surely this needs closer examination.
Following some legal wrangling, the 150-building portfolio now seems to be firmly in the control of Bill Gottlieb's nephew, Neil Bender, who?according to the Key story?never got along with his uncle. Maybe Bender's Shake Shack deal is some sort of ultimate payback against his late uncle, or maybe the dude just loves burgers. Either way, will the Shack actually get built? The plans are currently working their way through the approvals process, but a hyped proposed rooftop seating area appears to violate zoning laws. There's also some grumbling about the impact on its neighbor at 49 Prince Street, where residents will practically be able to reach out their windows to grab a shake. (Isn't that an amenity?) One irate Eater commenter let the Shake Shack know what it's up against:
This is Gottlieb's lot and if you are unfamiliar with who the Gottlieb's are, even with their new management, this is not going to happen. If it is build however, I will without question burn it down the first night. I'm not really kidding either. This does not belong on that corner. What an insult to the neighborhood and the whole consideration to a roof top makes me want to vomit.Surely a brand new Shake Shack is less vomitocious than other uses for the property, but out of concern for the safety of our basement moonshine operation (so profitable, so flammable), we'll bow out of this debate.
· Shake Shack Nolita Will Boast 30-Person Rooftop Terrace [Eater]
· William Gottlieb coverage [Curbed]