The Real Deal New York

Hotel conversion bill expected to pass

A watered-down version would last only two years

May 12, 2015 08:00AM

The Waldorf Astoria (inset: Steven Spinola and Corey Johnson)

The Waldorf Astoria (inset: Steven Spinola and Corey Johnson)

A City Council bill that would make it illegal for hotel owners to convert more than 20 percent of their rooms to condo without going through a special review process is expected to pass on Thursday.

Councilmember Corey Johnson is the bill’s sponsor. In the originally proposed version, the change would be permanent. However, in the version that made it to a vote, the ban will only be put in place for two years, the New York Post reported.

Additionally, hotels that changed hands within the past two years or hotels whose owners had “exhibited a demonstrated interest” in converting some rooms would be exempt. This would include Anbang Insurance’s Waldorf Astoria.

“We happen to believe this bill is illegal,” Real Estate Board of New York president Steven Spinola said. “At the very least, such a measure should be reviewed under [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure]. Even then, it would still be illegal.”

The bill made it through the Council Committee on Housing and Buildings on Monday, and will go for a full Council vote Thursday. [NYP] — Tess Hofmann