A karaoke lounge that has been at the center of tensions between Chinese and white residents of Mayfair is scheduled to open in October, the owner tells the Northeast Times.
Owner and manager Steven Zheng had hoped to open Voix, a restaurant, bar and karaoke spot, this summer, but construction issues have delayed the project. A soft opening is scheduled for Oct. 15.
Much of the discussion about the property has been about a zoning variance for a proposed rooftop deck connected to the lounge at 2825-35 Cottman Ave. The topic brought a huge crowd to the April 24 Mayfair Civic Association meeting.
No community vote was held that night, and, in the wake of the meeting, Chinese residents told the Times they felt whole gathering was hostile and permeated by racism.
“I’m not going to do the roof deck right now,” Zheng said in an interview. “We’re going to open first.”
“I want the neighbors to see that all I’m doing is I’m trying to bring in good vibes, a safe environment, a good place, a new spot for everybody to go to as a cultural bridge,” he added.
Zheng said he would like to see the karaoke lounge change the situation in Mayfair, where he said cultural and language barriers can sometimes divide residents. He said he plans to invite community members to visit his business.
The project has been delayed due to minor construction details and difficulties dealing with utility companies, Zheng said.
Voix will serve as the anchor of the new plaza at Cottman and Brous avenues in the former Teamsters property. The plaza will also host a noodle house, gift shop, law firm office, bubble tea place and a bus station for transportation to and from New York, Zheng said.
He said those businesses will likely open around the same time as the karaoke lounge.
“I know a lot of people are excited,” Zheng added. “I’m excited, too, and I’m trying my best to get this going.”
Voix will hold walk-in interviews at the plaza Sept. 3 to 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Interested applicants should bring identification. ••
Jack Tomczuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.