Exclusive Private Membership Clubs Spread in West Village

-By Brian J. Pape, AIA, LEED AP

The Jane Hotel operation at 113 Jane Street is now the Jane Street Social Club, a private membership club. Credit: BJ Pape. After 114 years, the Jane Hotel operation at 113 Jane Street, facing West Street, ended on November 18, 2022. Completed in 1908 for the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, it was built as a hotel for sailors, with cabin-like rooms. Designed by William A. Boring, the architect renowned for Ellis Island’s immigrant station, the well-known and land-marked hotel was refurbished on its centennial in 2008. The former theater inside the hotel had previously been turned into a ballroom.

The Jane Hotel operation at 113 Jane Street is now the Jane Street Social Club, a private membership club. Credit: BJ Pape.

The Jane Street Social Club Inc. will occupy the entire former Jane Hotel, for a total of 18,909 sf area on five floors and a roof deck. This is the cellar floor plan.

Credit: Stonehill Taylor Architects.

In February of this year, San Vicente Bungalows (SVB) pre-sented to the Community Board 2 Manhattan (CB2) a transfer application of an existing liquor license for the Jane Hotel to the Jane Street Social Club Inc, for a total of 18,909 sf area on five floors and a roof deck. In the application, SVB is described as “a private membership club designed to attract a diverse community of individuals, each contributing something unique to its soul and experience. With highly personalized, old-world service in an atmosphere that is elegant, inviting, and cozy, SVB is a desti-nation for discerning people bound by common interests and a desire for dynamic social interaction.” The SVB private clubs started in West Hollywood. Jeff Klein, the operator behind the change at the Jane Street Hotel, currently holds licenses at City Club, 55 West 44th Street, and Monkey Bar, 60 East 54th Street. An effort to provide an ADA lift from the sidewalk to the lower level was commendable, but the plans by Stonehill Taylor Architects seem to be preliminary, not resolving access to both the hotel space and the club space; they show separate elevators for the two parts. Now, as a private club, the divisions may be inconsequential. The jury is out on how the changes will affect the neighbors.

At 401 West Street is a new residential hotel to be operated as an exclusive private membership club with a café and wine bar within the ground floor store front. Credit: BJ Pape.

South of the Jane Hotel, 401 West Operator LLC applied to the CB2 for a new tavern wine license to operate a café and wine bar within the ground floor storefront. 401 West is a new residential hotel to be operated as an exclusive private member-ship club. The seven-story, mixed-use building, between Charles and West 10th Streets in the West Village, has been under construction for several years. The interior café of 215 sq. ft., with three tables and six patron seats, will be open to the public despite the café/wine bar being located in the private membership club. There are also plans for a lower level dining space for members.

Soho House has been located at 29–35 Ninth Avenue, be-tween West 13th and 14th Streets in the West Village, for many years, occupying the upper floors and roof deck of a mixed-use, six-story loft building, ca. 1910, now owned by Michael Cayre. Soho House is a group of private membership clubs, originally aimed at those in the arts, politics, and media, in London, En-gland. The company now operates clubs, hotels and venues around the world. It is selective. Members are drawn mainly from the media, arts and fashion industries. The company went public in July of 2021, trading under the name Membership Collective Group. The organization plans to use the money raised to pay down debt and finance further expansion. As a members club, this Soho House offers dining, cafes, lounges and roof deck entertainment spaces.

In the same building as Soho House, at 29-35 Ninth Avenue, and the Rolex watch storefront on the corner, 401-403 West 13th Street will soon accommodate a new private club on the lower level. Credit: BJ Pape.


Michael Cayre, the landlord and principle behind HC Oper-ator Inc., also presented to the Community Board 2 Manhattan (CB2) a new private membership club application for 401–403 West 13th Street, with a full- service restaurant operated by famous restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten. This is in the same building as Soho House and the Rolex watch store, at 29–35 Ninth Avenue. Mr. Cayre also holds licenses for Casa Cipriani at 10 South Street at the historic Battery Maritime Terminal, another private membership franchise with multiple locations.

At 401–403 West 13th Street, Mr. Cayre plans to include a library, music lounge, and meeting spaces in addition to the restaurant space. Saying he’s “not doing this for the money, therefore this will be a not-for-profit,” Mr. Cayre noted that membership, although by invitation, will not be based on an individual’s wealth, but rather on people’s common interests and a desire for dynamic social interaction.

The cellar level of 401-403 West 13th Street is where Michael Cayre plans to operate a library, music lounge, and meeting spaces, along with the restaurant space for his new not-for-profit private membership club. Credit: HC Operator Inc.

HC Operator Inc. presented conflicting information to the CB2  at the November hearing. Documents regarding the 12,000 sf cellar called for both 350 and 270 seats. The new entry on 13th Street showed a new lift from the sidewalk to the first-floor vestibule, but did not show the new elevator to be added going down to the lower level. They also stated that they had dropped plans for a shared entry on Ninth Avenue, shown with elevators to Soho House. Due to the incomplete information, he CB2 committee voted to deny the application for now.

To many neighbors, this is a stealth trend that transforms the West Village from the friendly, casual, open-to-all neighbor-hood toward an exclusive members-only enclave, where you are not welcome unless you have lots of money for memberships.

Brian J. Pape is a citizen architect in private practice serving on the Manhattan District 2 Community Board Landmarks Committee and, the Quality of Life Committee (speaking solely in a personal, and not an official capacity). He is also co-chair of the American Institute of Architects NY Design for Aging Committee, a member of AIANY Historic Buildings and Housing Committees, is LEED AP “Green” certified, and is a journalist specializing in architecture subjects.

Leave a Reply