London Ad Agency Can't Sell Itself to TriBeCa Locals in Bid to Serve Booze

By Irene Plagianos on March 19, 2013 8:10am 

 A rendering of the overhauled 50 Varick St. building, which will be home to high-end London ad agency Spring Studios.
A rendering of the overhauled 50 Varick St. building, which will be home to high-end London ad agency Spring Studios.
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Courtesy of Adjmi & Andreoli

TRIBECA — They cater to clients like Donatella Versace and Marc Jacobs, but the owners of high-end ad agency Spring Studios — soon to open a massive production studio at 50 Varick St. — have yet to win local support in a bid to serve liquor.

The London-based agency is in the midst of transforming the Verizon Building at the address into a glamorous, multi-level production center that will include several studios for photo shoots and digital editing, a 60-person theater, a gallery and a rooftop event space.

But it’s not the expansive building’s fashionable makeover that’s troubling Community Board 1.

The company is seeking advisory approval from CB1's Tribeca Committee for a liquor license, so it can serve alcohol in their dining area, as well as during events for the high-profile clientele.

Last week, representatives for Spring Studios made their second attempt at persuading CB1 that the company's focus was on the business and being a respectful neighbor — not having huge, wild parties that would run late into the night, which has been a major fear for residents.

“This is an agency that has a 360 [degree] approach to handling all our clients needs,” said David Hemphill, the company’s director of events. “We’re not a nightclub or an event company — our goal here is to work with our neighbors and build relationships in the community.”

The company said it will only occupy four floors of the building and rarely plan events as large as 800 people — for daytime fashion shows — but that promise has not allayed the concerns of locals.

Last week's CB1 meeting was packed with residents from surrounding buildings raising issues about how late the parties would run, how the company would handle traffic and security with the famous attendees and the paparazzi that follow, and how sound and smoke would travel from the rooftop events.

With all the concerns, CB1 Tribeca Committee Chairman Peter Braus decided to postpone the vote for the second time, hoping Spring Studios and local residents could come up with clearer limits on events — especially those on the roof — before the board would take a vote.

The agency is expected to be back before the board next month.

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