Chelsea Hotel residents sue to block luxury hotel plan

The Chelsea Hotel is being renovated into a luxury hotel — but a group of longtime tenants are arguing that it still is technically a single-room-occupancy residential building. File photo

BY GABE HERMAN | A small group of remaining tenants in the Chelsea Hotel is suing to keep it as an apartment building for permanent residents. The building’s new owners, including Chelsea Hotel F & B LLC and Richard Born, are working to make the historic building at 222 W. 23rd St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves., a luxury hotel.

Last year, Chelsea Now covered longtime residents’ issues with ongoing construction that has lasted years. The hotel stopped taking new guests in 2011. Born said last year that the place was expected to reopen early this year. He said there would be 125 to 130 rooms, including hotel rooms, plus 50 apartments for current tenants under the rent-stabilization law and 30 new market-rate rental apartments.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 22 in Manhattan Supreme Court by five rent-stabilized residents, including writer Ed Hamilton, who have lived at the landmarked building for decades, some from as far back as 1975. The suit argues that, “as an apartment building, the building is a single-room occupancy multiple dwelling that is occupied for permanent residence purposes.”

Ed Hamilton, a resident of the Chelsea Hotel since 1995, last year standing outside the building, where scaffolding has been up for years as the interior undergoes reconstruction. File photo

The suit alleges that the Chelsea Hotel’s owners, in the course of renovations and permit requests to the Department of Buildings, never sought to amend the building’s certificate of occupancy. That, in turn, led to inappropriate permit requests for “extensive alterations at the building that seek for the first time to introduce transient and commercial use to extensive portions of the 12th floor (lower roof) and 13th floor of the building, including a lounge, health spa and places of assembly for the public, including occupancy by as many as 271 persons,” the suit contends.

A lawyer for the Chelsea Hotel’s owners could not immediately be reached for comment. A D.O.B. spokesperson said the department cannot comment on pending litigation.

2 Responses to Chelsea Hotel residents sue to block luxury hotel plan

  1. The seeming unending saga of The Chelsea Hotel renovation continues. The tenants of the hotel continue to suffer through horrendous conditions, their health being put at-risk. This David-Goliath like struggle is worthy of note in the onslaught of continued NYC overdevelopment.

  2. Torture; Dust, Dirt. Noise and waterboarding. Never ending

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