Balazs Gets Nod for Liquor Transfer at Cooper Square Hotel

balazsNick DeSantis

Famed hotelier André Balazs was rewarded for his cameo at Community Board 3’s SLA Committee meeting last night, as the group voted unanimously to support his application to transfer the Cooper Square Hotel’s liquor license to his name.

Mr. Balazs’s high-profile establishments – the Mercer Hotel in Soho and the Standard in the meatpacking district – are magnets for celebrities. His Cooper Square Hotel takeover raised questions that the party atmosphere of the Boom Boom Room (his nightclub in the Standard) could soon migrate to the East Village. But Mr. Balazs ameliorated those fears by addressing residents directly.

“It’s very much a community hotel,” said Mr. Balazs of his new acquisition. He reassured the community board that he plans to continue all of the stipulations, numbering around 30, which pertained to the hotel’s liquor license prior to the transfer.

Nearly all of the residents who spoke at the meeting were supportive of Mr. Balazs’s application. “Paper” co-founder David Hershkovits, a longtime East Village resident who lives near Tompkins Square Park, described Mr. Balazs as someone who can be relied on to run his projects responsibly and work closely with the community.

“I think he loves the neighborhood,” said Mr. Hershkovits.

balazsbookLiv Buli Mr. Balazs with his attorney, Robert Bookman.

The prominent glass and metal hotel, which towers 21 stories over Cooper Square, has met some resistance in the neighborhood since its 2008 opening, with residents complaining about the imposing design of the structure as well as noise. At Monday’s meeting, Stuart Zamsky of the East Fifth Street Block Association raised the issue of enclosing the second-floor outdoor patio.

“We hope that’s something you’ll pursue,” said Mr. Zamsky.

To help win over the assembled crowd, Robert Bookman, Mr. Balazs’s attorney, touted a letter of support from neighboring Community Board 2 that praised his client’s efforts. Mr. Bookman, who called his client “one of the premier hoteliers in the United States,” noted that Mr. Balazs’s latest project would not be a clone of his other enterprises.

“We’re not looking for the Standard Hotel,” said Mr. Bookman. “We’re looking for the Cooper Square Hotel.”

The matter will now be put to a final vote at the full community board meeting on September 27, and the State Liquor Authority has the right to accept or reject the board’s recommendation.