Smile for the community board, Emma.Photo: Patrick McMullan
Club promoter, artist, and former model Emma Cleary has purchased the bi-level space that currently houses Double Happiness and plans to reopen it, by New Year’s, only to those who can get onto the list. Her partner in the sale, brokered by Karma McDermett of Stevens & Co., is a managing director at JP Morgan. Cleary tells us the upstairs, which currently houses Palais Royale, will revert to its former incarnation as a restaurant (remember Wyanoka?) with Ulrich Sterling of 5 Ninth and SushiSamba turning out a ten-item menu of gourmet bar food. “Places like the Box and 205 are catering to the Lower East Side crowd,” Cleary says. “I’m going for more of the models, investment bankers, and celebrities.” Just how that will sit with the neighbors remains to be seen: At yesterday’s CB2 meeting, there were cries that the area outside of Double Happiness had become “party central,” causing Cleary to pen a missive, reprinted here for anyone who cares, laying out her plans for a $1 million swankification.
Dear Members of the Community,
I am writing to share my intentions for the space at 173 Mott Street and to illustrate how this establishment will be valuable asset to the community. Given my background promoting some of the most renowned restaurants and lounges in New York, I have combined insight, passion and vision for the potential of a superior upscale venue that promotes sophisticated socializing and networking. Having dedicated the past 8 years of my life to the hospitality industry, I am excited to capitalize on my industry expertise and move forward as an entrepreneur. Through the support of long-standing friends, contacts and investors, I am confident in the viability and success of this project.
Understandably, the community board seeks to maintain a level of decorum in the establishment’s aesthetics and clientele. My approach, as well as that of my investors, designers and project consultants, mirrors this vision for a mature and urbane atmosphere. By investing more than $1 million in the project, including renovations, lease improvements and an internal and external facelift, we aim to attract successful and upscale clientele. This project readily dovetails with my goals as a resident and member of the community: to positively contribute to the neighborhood and encourage its development. Benefiting from the contribution of talented architect Brenna Carlson and Double Happiness’s establishment of a venue with an existing liquor license and food service availability, this new space will also visibly improve the appearance and business in the area. Further, this style of venue appeals to the clientele I have fostered through my years in the hospitality industry. They are largely young professionals in the financial industry with whom I share mutual respect and cooperation. (Please note the attached list of references, providing business contacts who have faith in my ability to guide and realize this project to its full potential.)
In addition to nightlife socializing, I would like this venue to also operate in an upscale lounge and entertainment capacity for events such as birthday dinners and small catered gatherings. As a hostess, I know the importance of having light food and appetizers available to patrons and have begun planning the culinary development of the kitchen and its offerings with an experienced chef, Ulrich Sterling. (Please note Ulrich’s resume and the preliminary menu plan attached. We are in the process of completing kitchen design plans and have indicated the intended space for the new kitchen.) Regarding the hours of operation, the space is currently open on weekdays from 6PM until 3AM and on weekends from 6PM until 4AM and we intend to keep similar hours. Through our renovations aimed at improving the venue’s aesthetics and lighting, as well as the addition of food service, the establishment will lend itself to greater business and patronage during the earlier hours of operation.
In closing, I would like to emphasize how excited I am to be a young female business owner and how much faith and dedication I have and continue to invest in the success of this project. As a resident and member of the Nolita community for more than a decade, it is with great pride that my inaugural business endeavor is being realized in the part of the city I most consider home. Given the many new commercial developments in the area, this project is uniquely positioned with an opportunity to guide and build on the character of the neighborhood and ensure that the interests of the community, its’ residents, business owners and patrons, grow forward positively and conducively. I look forward to contributing to the neighborhood’s atmosphere, commerce and development.