New hotels would need community board OK under proposal

Legislation ‘needed to protect character of neighborhoods across this city.’ – Jumaane Williams

Mar.March 31, 2014 04:31 PM

The phrase “as-of-right” may soon lose its meaning in New York hotel development. The New York City Council is considering giving local community boards a say in the construction of new hotels and hotel apartments, even if a developer has as-of-right permission to build a project.

The legislation was introduced March 12 by Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represents Brooklyn’s District 45 and chairs the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buldings, with the support of colleagues Margaret Chin, Corey Johnson, Peter Koo, Ritchie Torres and Helen Rosenthal.

The bill would require that developers add a statement to their applications for construction of new hotel projects that certifies that the project’s local community board “has completed their review of the plan.”

Individuals may submit testimony on the bill to the Council at a hearing Wednesday. A vote on the legislation will follow.

“This legislation is needed to protect character of neighborhoods across this city, as communities change faster than zoning,” Williams said in a statement to The Real Deal. “Whenever a hotel, with a large number of transient occupants, is built, consideration must be given to its impact on the people living in that neighborhood.”

Williams added that even if a development can be built as-of-right, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s in the neighborhood’s best interests.

“Communities should have knowledge and input on the location and scope of proposed hotels, and community boards represent the voice of residents in government.”

New York is seeing a hotel construction boom, with enough beds in the pipeline for 110,000 rooms by 2016, as TRD reported. Most of the development is taking place in Manhattan, but a sizable number of beds are also being built in the outer boroughs, as record streams of tourists and business travelers visit the city.

The proposal could be an impediment to that new construction, brokers and developers said. “It will slow hotel development down, absolutely,” said McSam Group CEO Sam Chang. “We [hoteliers] are creating so many jobs and so much tax revenue,” he said, and disrupting the as-of-right process would cause unnecessary delays.

“One of the things that makes the city work well is the as-of-right process,” said Massey Knakal Realty Services chairman Bob Knakal. “Not having the process encourages corruption and slows development down.”

City Center Real Estate’s Robert Shapiro said that the proposal, if it passed, would “prevent New York City from being competitive. We’ll be unable to create sufficient hotel product to meet demand here.”

Related Articles

From left: The Row Hotel at 700 8th Avenue, the Williamsburg Hotel at 96 Wythe Avenue, the Selina Hotel at 516-518 West 27th Street and 20 Times Square (Credit: Google Maps, Sumaida + Khurana, PBDW)

More NYC hotel loans are defaulting as room rates fall

The Blakely Hotel at 136 West 55th Street and Richard Born (Credit: Google Maps, iStock, Richard Born by Studio Scrivo)

Hotel owner says competition, not union deal, led to closure

The Blakely Hotel at 136 West 55th Street and Richard Born (Credit: Google Maps, Richard Born by Studio Scrivo)

Blakely Hotel may shut down, lay off 54 workers

1074 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn (Credit: Google Maps)

Crown Heights tenants sue infamous landlord for rent overcharges

Donald Trump and the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. (Credit: Getty Images)

Deadline is set for bids on Trump’s DC hotel

Scott Rechler and clockwise from top left: 2455-2457 Third Avenue, 150 West 48th Street and 42-11 9th Street (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images)

RXR’s Long Island City development was the biggest new project filed in December

Renderings of 450 11th Avenue and 350 West 39th Street (Credit: DSM Design Group and Gene Kaufman Architect)

NYC’s strong hotel pipeline pushes down occupancy, revenue: report

150 West 48th Street and Sam Chang (Credit: Google Maps and iStock)

What retirement? Sam Chang files plans for Midtown hotel