We’ve known for months that this day would come, that despite the dive’s attempt to disguise itself as a condo, Mars Bar would soon get a date with the wrecking ball, and now Crain’s reports that the two buildings at the corner of East First Street and Second Avenue will come down in August. But Crain’s also reports that nine of the tenants living above the East Village bar will get great deals on units in the condo building that sprouts in its place.
Nine tenants living above Mars Bar and in the adjoining building that will also be demolished will be taking units in the 65-apartment, 12-story luxury condo building that will occupy the corner come 2013. Their units will account for nine of the 13 apartments set aside for affordable housing, but the price they’ll be paying is more than affordable, it’s downright cheap: ten tax-free dollars.
Yes, after moving out at the end of this month, the nine tenants—including “[a]n octogenarian playwright, a drag queen and a kvetcher provoked nightly by the bar’s cacophony”—will move back in when the new building opens in two years, each paying $10 for their luxury condo. The four remaining affordable units in the building “will be sold by lottery for around $150,000 to people making less than $64,000, according to BFC Partners,” the building’s developer.
John Vaccaro, the 81-year-old playwright, tells Crain’s: “They’re giving me a two-bedroom apartment. That sounds fab.” Meanwhile Mars Bar bartender Amy is less upbeat: “The bar’s closing. Oh, well. You move on. I dislike this neighborhood now.”