From top to bottom: Comptroller John Liu, developer Shimmie Horn. At right: 400 McGuiness Blvd.
Comptroller John Liu and City Council members are looking into the
Department of Homeless Services’ dealings with developer Shimmie Horn
and his plans to convert several buildings in Brooklyn into homeless
shelters, the New York Post and the Brooklyn Eagle reported.
A previous Post investigation had found that Horn could earn millions
of dollars with such projects in East New York and Brownsville.
One of the most controversial sites for these plans is at 400
McGuiness Boulevard in Greenpoint, where the community has been protesting
plans for a homeless shelter for the past year.
PropertyShark.com records confirm that Horn bought the
property for $4 million and that he has a permit application pending to
renovate and convert the building to use as a “Lodge House,’ the Brooklyn Eagle
House zoning can refer to either a transient hotel or a homeless
shelter, a Department of Buildings spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle.
City Council member Steve Levin wrote a letter to Liu that he was
troubled by the purchase. He noted that Horn’s corporation, Horn of
Triumph Hotels, has acquired other Brooklyn properties — including 1424
Herkimer Street, 1000 Blake Avenue and 645 Van Siclen Street — “all of which were
immediately targeted by homelessness providers and accepted by DHS as
appropriate locations for shelters.”
The Triumph Hotels website mentions hotels in Manhattan that Horn owns such as the Iroquois and the Hotel Chandler, but not properties that are homeless shelters.
Levin suggested that DHS, by contracting with a private partner to do
its property acquisitions, could be avoiding the public review process
of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. Horn’s spokesperson said in a statement
that Horn had no “contractual relationship with DHS.” But a
spokesperson for Liu said his office would “hold the Department of
Homeless Services accountable to a fair, transparent and equitable
[Brooklyn Eagle] and [Post]