LOWER EAST SIDE — A controversial hotelier has indefinitely pulled his application to open a rooftop bar on top of a Holiday Inn after months of relentless community opposition, according to the local community board.
Hotelier Hank Freid has nixed his application to bring his “exclusive” Times Square rooftop lounge to the the Holiday Inn at 148-150 Delancey St. due to the backlash from neighbors claiming the plan would flood their homes with noise and unwanted crowds, according to Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, who noted the applicant seemed to have "withdrawn for good."
An excerpt from an email Stetzer says she received from Freid's attorney states the hotelier "has decided not to move forward with the project at this time."
Freid's Impulsive Group since August had been vying to recreate his swanky Haven Rooftop atop the inn, but had continually postponed scheduled appearances before the community board's State Liquor Authority subcommittee.
The group had attempted to address locals' concerns through a series of meetings with community representatives, according to emails between Freid's reps and neighborhood groups.
But the meetings were largely fruitless, according to a neighbor active in the anti-bar fight, because despite talk of soundproofing, traffic studies, and community benefits, locals were unwavering in their opposition to a rooftop bar in any form.
"I guess they kept saying 'We’ll change for you,' but we said the only thing we could agree to was them having the [interior] Retro Bar, which they already have, basically no alcohol on the roof whatsoever," said Pamela Ito, president of the Suffolk Street Block Association who has spearheaded opposition to the rooftop bar.
The inn has been attempting to secure a rooftop lounge since June under different operators — Joe Donagher and Eamon Donnelly of TriBeCa tavern Barleycorn first applied through the community board in June, prompting outrage from neighbors who argued noise from the lounge would drift into buildings housing children and elderly residents directly next to the hotel and into homes attached to the inn by a shared courtyard.
But after Ito and more than 100 other residents signed a petition opposing the plan, Donagher and Donnelly bailed on their scheduled hearing before the SLA subcommittee — where dozens showed up to protest the bar — and were issued a denial. Freid then pitched his plan at the end of August.
Freid's reps had procured sound and traffic studies, which stated the bar would not have a negative impact on the community and made recommendations to mitigate noise, and had most recently met with neighbors at the end of November, said Ito, who disputed the studies' findings, and doubts Freid has withdrawn for good.
"I just feel like they're slippery and it's not over," she said.
Freid and his attorney both did not return requests for comment.
When reached by phone, the manager of the Holiday Inn said he was unaware Freid had withdrawn and confirmed the hotel's long-term goal was to create a bar on the rooftop.
"I haven't heard from the restaurant group, and if they've withdrawn that's news to me," said hotel manager Rosario Bianchi. "Obviously we're going to look at other options."