Moinian’s Midtown hotel project continues to irk neighbors

July 05, 2011 08:45AM

Midtown residents are none too happy with developer Joe Moinian, CEO of the Moinian Group, judging by some incidents last week, the New York Post reported.

A small fire broke out Thursday at a five-story building being demolished by Moinian to build a hotel at 237 West 54th Street, drawing fire engines and emergency trucks. Tenants of the adjacent building were forced to vacate. “There was a lot of smoke and we’re all nervous wrecks,” said one resident of 243 West 54th Street.

The residents, it seems, have had ongoing issues with the demolition. “It feels like earthquakes and bombs going off next door,” one resident said. Another tenant, Joanne Lockman, emailed the Post: “Waking up to a swaying building is scary on a good day.”

Some even have their suspicions that Moinian filed his hotel plan purely to encourage the owners of a larger Marriott hotel project by Harry Gross’s Broadway Granite Development, at the corner of Broadway and 54th Street, to buy him out, the Post said.

A giant inflatable rat by Local 73 recently set up residence at the site to protest Moinian’s use of non-union workers.

Posters also appeared outside the Moinian-owned 535 Fifth Avenue, accusing the developer of owing money to contractors at the W Downtown Hotel, which he opened last year on Liberty Street.

A spokesperson for Moinian declined to comment on either incident. [Post]