HELL'S KITCHEN — Landlords at a Hell's Kitchen building where gay sports bar Boxers has signed a lease to open a second location appear to be hedging their bets, keeping the space listed as available for rent.
Ken Brandman, president of New York Commercial Real Estate Services and the broker for the building at 766 10th Ave. said the ad is still up in case the State Liquor Authority denies Boxers' liquor license.
"[Boxers] signed the lease but obviously they won’t be able to move forward with it if they don’t get the SLA approval," Brandman said. "The Boxers guys are tremendous people. If they can’t get it, I don’t think anybody could. If they don’t, it’d be hurtful for the value of the property."
The listing on the realtor's website has a steep asking price of $34,950 a month, and says the location is "Great For Restaurant/Bar Use." Brandman could not give details on the deal with Boxers, but confirmed it was for less than the asking price.
He added that even if the State Liquor Authority denies Boxers' license, the agency will continue to market the building as a nightlife or restaurant venue.
"For the price that the owner paid for it, the only way they’re going to get the rent to support it is for restaurant use," Brandman said. "There’s no other way."
During months of meetings leading up to the community board's vote, opponents vowed to fight against any nightlife venue so close to P.S. 111 and Sacred Heart of Jesus school.
The bar — and the building's landlords, Croman Real Estate — have drawn condemnation from locals who say they don't want any kind of bar so close to two schools, which is why Community Board 4 voted to ask the State Liquor Authority to deny Boxers its liquor license earlier this month.
Advertisements for the building emphasize that it can be divided into two spaces. That would allow the renters to distance the alcohol-serving portion of their venue far enough away from the schools to qualify for a liquor license. Boxers' plan currently proposes to split the building into two separate entities: a taco shop facing West 52nd Street, and the bar itself facing 10th Avenue.
The SLA rules ban bars from opening within 200 feet of a school.
Boxers co-owner Rob Hynds said he and his business partner Bob Fluet are still fighting to open in the space despite opposition. He added that they are still holding the lease for the building, and hope to move forward with opening the bar as soon as possible.
"We still have a right to that space, I can tell you that," he said.
The State Liquor Authority does not comment on pending licenses, but it could be months before it makes a decision on the bar's liquor license.
"We don't know if this is going to go to the finish line or not," Hynds said. "It makes good sense to me that they continue to market it."