Stephen Starr on CB’s Paris Commune Rejection: ‘Maybe We’ll Just Walk Away’

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Starr. Photo: PatrickMcMullan.com

As Eater noted earlier, Stephen Starr was at last night's Community Board 2 meeting, and the board's SLA committee voted to reject his plans to turn the Paris Commune space into a larger restaurant. About 30 neighborhood residents showed up to oppose the application, including a group calling itself the Residents for Responsible Restaurants in the West Village, which circulated a flyer earlier in the week that described Starr's project as an "invasion" by the Meatpacking District. Starr called that description unfair, and told the board that he is "a restaurateur, not a night club operator." It didn't do much good, but we talked to him this morning and asked him what his next move would be.

"Some things are not meant to be," Starr told Grub Street. "Maybe we'll take this as a sign that we should be doing something else, maybe smaller." He added that his team was considering the option of going directly to the SLA (bypassing the community board), or, he said, "maybe we'll just walk away."

Interestingly, most of Starr's supporters for the project are people who live above the site at 99 Bank Street, and had rejected other applications. "The building wants him and he feels he can be a friendly neighbor who can replace the failed restaurants that came before him," said Donald M. Bernstein, Starr's Manhattan attorney. "This wouldn't be Buddakan."

Earlier: Stephen Starr to Open Restaurant in Paris Commune Space