Buckingham Hotel residents say renovations making them sick

TRD New York /
Dec.December 22, 2011 01:21 PM

Residents are fired up at the Buckingham Hotel over renovations that they say are disruptive and are making them sick, after a partial stop-work order was lifted, according to DNAinfo. The less than 12 rent-stabilized residents, who have rejected offers to be bought out, complained of frequent flooding, broken pipes, disruptive noise and respiratory problems due to high levels of toxic dust.

The owners of the storied, 100-room property at 101 West 57th Street closed it down early this year for a two-year-long renovation project, which was previously reported. As The Real Deal first reported, the hotel, which has housed cultural icons including tenor Giovanni Martinelli and painter Georgia O’Keefe in its 82-year history, changed hands in 2010 when a partnership including Equinox founder Danny Errico sold it for $60 million to Hartford, Conn.-based UBS Realty Investors. Many city agencies have inspected the property and levied several fines, but said there have been no major health or safety violations to date.

The residents commissioned their own report which found asbestos and lead mixed in with dust as well as excessive levels of crystalline silica. They hired attorney David Hershey-Webb, who has repeatedly asked the owner to take more proactive measures to control the dust. He said residents may take legal action if conditions don’t improve. “Everybody understands that when there [are] renovations in the buildings, there’s going to be certain inconveniences,” he said. “[But] they’re required to [do this work] in a way that does not put the health and safety of tenants living in the building at risk.” A UBS Realty spokesperson declined to comment. [DNAinfo]

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