Work stopped on ‘Billionaires’ Row’ shelter

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH AND LAURA HANRAHAN | Construction on a planned homeless shelter at 158 W. 58th St, commonly referred to as “Billionaires’ Row,” has been temporarily blocked.

According to the Commercial Observer, on May 8, Appellate Division Justice David Friedman granted an interim stay to the W. 58th St. Coalition, which has fiercely pushed back against the project. The stay would allow the group to appeal Judge Alexander Tisch’s April 29 ruling allowing the city to transform the former Park Savoy Hotel into a shelter.

The city plans to convert the former Park Savoy Hotel on W. 58th St. in a shelter for homeless men.

Both supporters and opponents of the homeless shelter have until May 20 to submit their arguments. Meanwhile, the stay prevents any move-ins to the shelter, expected to house 150 men.

The shelter’s opponents say it would increase crime and decrease the affluent area’s property values. They also claim that the shelter poses a fire risk because of the building’s narrow staircase, a lack of sprinklers and too few exits. But the Fire Department has approved the building’s fire-protection plan. The Department of Buildings has also approved the hotel’s use as a homeless shelter. The facility would have a 10 p.m. curfew and be under 24-hour surveillance seven days a week.

Neighbors rallied against the shelter more than a year ago.

This is not the first time the hotly disputed homeless shelter has faced a roadblock.

News quietly broke in mid-January 2018 that the former hotel would eventually be turned into a homeless shelter as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Turning the Tide plan. According to the New York Post, residents of Billionaires’ Row were blindsided by the announcement.

On Dec. 12, Justice Tisch ruled against residents working to stop the project, stating that a “mere distaste for the presence of homeless men in their neighborhood does not constitute legally cognizable harm.”

But Appellate Judge Jeffrey Oing gave the residents’ group temporary relief just two weeks later on Dec. 26, causing construction on the shelter to be put on hold.

“We remain focused on opening this site as soon as possible, so that we can provide high-quality shelter and employment services to hard-working New Yorkers experiencing homelessness as they get back on their feet,” said a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Homeless Services. “We are confident that the court will recognize our vital need for these additional beds, and look forward to opening our doors at this location.”

5 Responses to Work stopped on ‘Billionaires’ Row’ shelter

  1. This isn't going to be another Hotel Martinique; (https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/notorious-welfare-hotel-the-martinique/) I would think the level of surveillance as well as the curfew would prevent there being too many problems.

  2. I propose that all the fucking billionaires pool their money together then and pay for construction for a site in the outer boros. PUT UP OR SHUT UP.

  3. Where's William Thomas when you need him???? Posts comments on other articles about the importance of free housing, but nothing here, cuz it doesn't provide anything for Him. Hypocrite!

    • William Thomas

      Lol and I was just coming to comment on how this should be built ASAP. Apologies that I don't live in the Villager's comment section? We need many more shelters and billionaires shouldn't be able to isolate themselves from the reality of our city's housing crisis––this is just another example of extreme privilege fighting citywide needs.

  4. Your argument about the real estate really significant.

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