Court shuts down REBNY’s opposition to hotel conversion law

Local Law 50 prevents 150-room-plus hotels from converting more than 20% of its space
June 24, 2016 11:31AM

From left: Margaret Chan and John Banks

From left: Margaret Chan and John Banks

Overcoming a legal challenge by the real estate industry, the de Blasio administration prevailed in a battle over a 2015 law that curbs hotel-to-residential condominium conversions.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan ruled Thursday that the Real Estate Board of New York, which sought to overturn the law in a pair of lawsuits filed last year, did not have legal standing, Politico reported. Chan dismissed REBNY’s argument that the real estate industry would suffer financial damages from lost earning potential, saying the argument lacked evidence.

REBNY’s lawsuit took on a law last year that prevents hotels with more than 150 rooms from converting more than 20 percent of their space to non-hotel use – was unconstitutional and skirted the city’s land-use review process.

But Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York Hotel Trades Council supported the law. 

In its suit, REBNY cited a similar case in the Long Island town of Brookhaven in which a developer said a rezoning blocked its construction of a planned supermarket. “Here, there is only speculation,” Chan wrote.

Hotels that recently traded – such as the Waldorf Astoria, for $1.95 billion in 2014 – are exempt from the law, which placed a two-year moratorium on large-scale conversions. [Politico] – E.B. Solomont