The Peck Moss Group, the developers behind the Cooper Square Hotel, just bought the three remaining lots between Fifth and Sixth Streets from Cooper Union. The land, which they purchased from Cooper Union for $11 million, because, a spokeswoman says, it "wasn't suitable for academic development," includes a cozy 1830s Federal-style house occupied by beloved student watering hole Asia Pub. Will the hoteliers raze the structure to build another gleaming boutique B&B? "We don't really know yet," said partner Matthew Moss. "We obviously made a huge investment in Cooper Square, and a large part of buying those lots is to control what happens on the rest of our block, to make sure someone else doesn't buy it and use it for something else." Residents of the Fifth Street block, however, said they were told by Moss that he plans to build another hotel on the lots "and that when it was all finished, we would be thrilled," said one. And the group did apply for a permit for a smaller hotel late last year, although that application was rejected. In any case, NYU underclassmen can breathe a sigh of relief: At least for the near future, the bar remains open. —Dan LevinEarlier:High-Rise Eats TenementRelated:Hotelier Assumes NoHo Will Bend to His Will [Curbed]
Last night's non-historic Cooper Union face-off between famous formers Newt Gingrich and Mario Cuomo, billed by its organizers as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln's actually historic 1860 speech at the same location, was explained as a challenge to 2008's presidential candidates to campaign less in the modern, sound-bite-y style and more in the august Lincoln-Douglas tradition. A sedate, professorial crowd (read old) turned out to watch this exercise in bar-raising, at which at each speaker was given a full 30 minutes to orate. Gingrich went first and acquitted himself nicely, getting ovations for his emphatic bureaucracy bashing — "the machine doesn't work!" — before finishing with some heartstring-pulling fearmongering, naming his two New York City grandchildren and declaring that he "fears for their safety."