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A large-scale nightclub proposed for 11th Avenue has moved forward through the Manhattan Community Board 4 Business License and Permits Committee (BLP) to the full board — with major changes from the original proposal.
In January, the proprietors of Magnitude — a new LGBTQIA+ club they describe as “the largest gay nightclub on the east coast and the first full nightclub in New York City” — proposed a 2,000-person capacity club with a 2,500-person capacity rooftop which would open as late as 4am in space once occupied by a Lexus car dealership on 11th Avenue between W46/47th Street. That plan was rejected by the BLP Committee.
On Tuesday Sherif Mabrouk, manager of The Eagle nightclub in Chelsea, Sergio Polajenko, a New Jersey-based nightclub proprietor, Akram Qaid, owner of Harlem’s City Fish and their legal representative Vivian Tozaki submitted a new proposal that caps the indoor capacity at 750, and would reduce rooftop use to an outdoor smoking lounge for just 25 people — addressing two of the main concerns expressed by the BLP committee at the start of the year.
The team additionally submitted an environmental noise acoustic report as requested by the BLP and added in proposals to design club admission lines so as not to block sidewalk space, include at least one licensed and trained security guard per 75 patrons spread throughout the establishment and have staff collect any refuse discarded on the block by club patrons. In their statement presented to the committee, they said: “Magnitude aims to provide Hell’s Kitchen with an inclusive, safe, and friendly night venue that showcases cutting-edge, high-energy music trends and talented DJs. Magnitude will be a unique nightclub with fun activities besides drinking and dancing, such as a tarot card reading room, small goods/leather shop, a gift shop, and will occupy what is currently a vacant space.”
“We’re making a good faith attempt again to comply with your requests,” said Tozaki at Tuesday’s BLP Committee meeting, as Polajenko added, “We have downsized the project. We’re willing not to do a rooftop menu at this time — we researched having the whole roof enclosed, but that would happen at a much later date.”
Building representative and BOND Realty salesperson Bruno Reljic added that as a resident of Hell’s Kitchen, he believed that opening Magnitude would bring welcome business to an area he described as “not residential” enough for a Trader Joe’s or other large-scale retail to occupy. “I feel that this [Magnitude] can help for some years until this potentially becomes a residential area,” said Reljic. Polajenko described the current section of W46th Street — which just lost block-long tenant Metropolitan Lumber — as “a ghetto” that would best be served by the opening of a club: “I think that by bringing back life to the property will really help the community.”
Community members did not take kindly to that description and expressed opposition to the team’s amended plan. “The occupancy numbers seem to be pulled out of a hat,” said Hell’s Kitchen 49-54th Street Block Association Co-Chair Catie Savage, who added: “It’s also very disingenuous for the operators and the real estate agent and the owner to say that they think they know everything going on with zoning…CB4 is very actively pursuing housing and zoning changes.”
Hell’s Kitchen W49/54th Street Block Association Co-Chair Steve Belida told the team that contrary to their beliefs about the avenue’s non-residential atmosphere, “I’ve been here since 1981 — it’s not a ‘ghetto’.” Hell’s Kitchen W47/48th Street Block Association President Elke Fears added: “First of all, 11th Avenue is not a ‘ghetto’ — I take objection to that. It is residential up 11th Avenue — it’s manufacturing on the other side, but that will change soon, we hope,” said Fears, adding that she hoped the team would consider moving the location. “It’s a great venue, just somewhere else — not in Hell’s Kitchen, not on 11th Avenue between W46th and W47th Streets.”
Committee members were divided over whether the team made enough changes to operate responsibly within the neighborhood and stay afloat financially. Committee member Kerry Keenan said: “I don’t know why it’s easier for someone to climb up to the second floor than to walk out to the street to have a cigarette — it’s an invitation for a problem.” Speaking of the capacity issues, she added: “When you came to us before, you stated pretty clearly that you certainly could not make this work without the capacity of 4,000 – so I’m trying to understand how you’re going to make this work now.” Tozaki responded that moving smokers to the rooftop was “an issue of control — we’re going to handle the crowd and the lines,” she added, rather than let patrons linger on 11th Avenue. “We don’t want people scattered outside smoking cigarettes as a hangout spot.” The committee moved to remove the roof altogether aside from use as a parking lot.
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“Right now, my inclination is that they’ve moved a long way and I’m much more comfortable with this plan,” said committee member Jesse Greenwald, adding that he appreciated the changes to occupancy and roof use by the Magnitude team but wanted to hear additional details around parking, safety and crowd control. Another committee member, Ted Arenas, operator of the nearby Spot and Rise nightclubs, noted that while the new plan has a significantly reduced capacity, there were still adjustments to be made to accommodate a safe number of patrons. “They have seven doors, which enables 525 people legally — so they will need additional egress to get to 750,” he added. Arenas added that Mabrouk’s experience as the manager of The Eagle — which already operates within a residential area with a roof — brings a local operator knowledge that should allow the team to move forward with adjustments.
Others were less convinced, noting that the team still had gaps in their sound report and plans to curb noise and crowds. “I can’t shake the feeling that we’re being told whatever they think we need to hear to get the thing done,” said BLP committee Co-Chair Frank Holozubiec. “I don’t think they’re engaging with us on a meaningful level, and I think they’re just telling us what we need to hear. Everyone else on here tonight has had much more specific plans, even with places that have [a capacity] of 40 people.”
But despite opposing votes from Holozubiec, Keenan and Co-Chair Burt Lazarin, the BLP committee moved to approve with stipulations the Magnitude team to present their new plan to the full MCB4 board at their meeting on April 4, where community members can both join and sign up to comment.
How are people going to get there? No subway on 11th ave.. Time to get one added? Yes please. I live on 11th Ave and 60th street. It takes 15 minutes.. in high winds to walk to the nearest subway station at Broadway and Columbus Ave. Come on NOO-YORK get with the action Baby.!
That whole region could be tarted up and made more fun. The Irish Arts Center moved onto 11th ave recently ..Lets go !
I remember when Pacha was open I’d walk to Pier 84 in the morning and folks were still partying and spilling into the street. Same applies to that rooftop place, Harbor on 46th street. The streets were littered with trash, and the commotion intolerable. I feel bad for the residents of the surrounding area, and Gotham West & Gotham West Market.
I live at Gotham West and face 11th avenue. Hudson Terrace aka Harbor NYC is a block away and operates weekly and sometimes nightly, yet I don’t hear a thing. And as stated in the article, one of the people bringing the club to the neighborhood has a long-standing relationship with the neighboring buildings with another club on a residential block in Chelsea, where they have committed to being a good neighbor. I have no doubt they will do the same in Hell’s Kitchen. I fully support this new addition to the neighborhood.
This is why Hell’s Kitchen will never get a Whole Food’s or Trader Joe’s 😂 Keep dreaming, kiddos!
These are the same complainers and ne’er do wells that say we need more shelters and services for the homeless and underserved populations, just, NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD SO I DONT HAVE TO SEE THEM!!!!!! EXACTLY the same miserable people!!!!!
This is the worst news. These people pushing this up our A** are criminals.
Local history has shown that these “clubs” that have been on the westside in our neighborhood, for decades are basically laundromats for dirty money and then they become distribution venues for drugs from the various cartels that used to run the after-hours clubs on the westside throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. Bribes and payouts. Most of the properties in that area are still controlled by the same families that have owned and controlled them for years and years!
This is a very bad idea and would ultimately prove to be a foothold for corruption. Payouts, extortion and bribes.
I am *shocked* that a laughably unrepresentative and unelected group of randos winds up being nothing more than a living incarnation of NIMBYism.
If these people had existed 100 years ago, the subway would never have been built, since they’d all find reasons to complain about the noise, the traffic, or the horror of having to suffer even the slightest inconvenience to the benefit of everyone else. They’re an absolute blight on the city and do nothing but stand in the way of any change. If they really wanted to ensure that this lot stayed empty, there was nothing stopping them from pooling the money together to, you know, buy it.
Just askin: where do you live?
Sound rises and you can hear bass from a club for a very far distance. And it is very disturbing. Especially ay 2am when you are trying to get to sleep. Clubs need to be enclosed and away from residential area. Far away.
You are a MORON!
Sorry Gene. The MORON is Gabriel!
I hope this club gets approved quickly and reinvigorates this blighted area.
Outdoor nightclubs are inhumane. Human beings live in neighborhoods. We need to take care of our neighbors. We don’t need to torture them with bass-heavy music. Let’s invest in the people who live in Hell’s Kitchen and not cater to the real estate deals (and agents) that destroy communities.
Agreed. We need to take care of each other as neighbors. Hell’s Kitchen already has enough gay clubs. We don’t need another one. Go somewhere else.
Extell already owns the lots right across the 11th ave and the 46th st. New luxury buildings will be built soon. This club might change their mind because no one wants to next to a huge night club that has a rooftop open till 2am! And why would anyone think a night club will bring Wholes Foods or Trader Joe’s to the neighborhood?
All these NIBYs are the worst. If they want a boring quiet neighborhood move to New Jersey or an outer borough. I personally feel safer walking the streets of Hell’s Kitchen when it’s lively and feel these types of business make our neighborhood safer and more fun. I’m all for it! Bring back nyc nightlife!!!
I think it’s great to give people a place to have a good time and spend some money in the neighborhood.
Is there a neighborhood in anywhere in NYC that is not residential?
That club will never be part of the neighborhood. The owners are simply carpetbaggers. They will keep it open for a few years and then disappear when the shine wears off. They’ll take the money and run and leave a pile of garbage behind.
Also as a practical matter, most of the thousands of people who might be attending this new club on a given night would be driving there. Where are all of those parking spaces for all those cars?
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