The Sanctuary Event Space: A Roosevelt Island Invasion

The Sanctuary Event Space materialized out of thin air, yesterday, September 24th, 2020, at 851 Main Street on Roosevelt Island. Is Hudson Related trying to pull a fast one in pursuit of Main Street retail profits?

Nobody we know, including RIOC, saw it coming. It happened so fast RIOC asked for a copy of the announcement… We sent a photo of one taped to a kiosk outside the sleep state agency’s front door.

Titan Theatre Group, it says, plans their Second Annual Gala Event for September 30th, this coming Monday, at The Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary Event Space hosts a first activity.
Last we heard, the former Dayspring Church at 851 Main Street was going to be a restaurant. Now, suddenly, it’s something else.

The what?

The Sanctuary at 851 Main Street, Roosevelt Island… recently known as Dayspring Church, evicted last winter by Hudson Related.

The Sanctuary Event Space has serious problems…

Our readers know that we’ve been following developments at 851 Main. Serious issues crop up over any plans for the space.

First and most obviously, there is no safe way for cars to get to the parking lot along the West Promenade repaved to accommodate them. The exit from Main Street runs straight through The Octagon’s outdoor parking area and south entrance. It’s dark, unsafe for two-way traffic.

There are no painted lanes for two-way traffic.

Bad as that is, it’s worse. A right turn leads into a narrow access road on the way to the church. The lane doesn’t have sidewalks and is heavily used for deliveries, a small garden, folks walking to and from the promenade, Octagon Park and Horizon Daycare.

Who thinks it’s safe for event traffic?

Apparently, Hudson Related does. Hudson Related manages the space.

When I asked Hudson president David Kramer how his company planned to make traffic access safe, he never responded. Guess why?

What about RIOC?

Before we knew about The Sanctuary Event Space, RIOC pledged that safety would not be compromised. They require appropriate changes, they said, before anyone uses the space.

But that didn’t happen.

And there’s more…

A search on the city Department of Buildings website shows no permits applied for or approved for 851 Main Street.

At a minimum, use of the former church space requires an Occupancy Permit. They don’t have one. Depending on repair work undertaken, they may also need a Building Permit.

Lumber stacked outside The Sanctuary Event Space, week of September 16th, 2019.
Last week, lumber was stacked outside The Sanctuary Event Space, apparently for work inside.

Uncharacteristic secrecy surrounds whatever’s going on at 851 Main Street. Hudson Related failed to make a leasing announcement as promised in June.

That’s weird in itself because they rush to announce leases that never result in openings. Onda Mexican restaurant is one, and Eleanor’s Café is another.

Adding to the strangeness is a Roosevelt Islander story, appearing this week, about a new restaurant in Riverwalk Commons, replacing the shuttered Riverwalk Bar & Grill.

Although unannounced, the new bar and restaurant is already under construction, as we confirmed yesterday.

Gutted Riverwalk Bar & Grill.
The owners of Granny Annie gutted Riverwalk Bar & Grill, readying the space for a rebuild. The scene yesterday.

RIOC’s now aware that a significant event is planned, without adequate preparation to insure safety, for Monday. On the downside, Public Safety is responsible for permits. How will a group unable to handle eBikes take on Hudson Related?

Lots of questions remain. Will RIOC stand up to Hudson Related, and what’s the point of all this stealth, anyway?

Stay tuned. This story isn’t done yet.

More like this…

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