City claims UWS hotel owner illegally converted rental buildings into a hotel

Mayor’s office filed lawsuit against Impulsive Group CEO Hank Freid

Jul.July 03, 2017 08:58 AM

230 West 101 Street and Hank Freid (Credit: Getty Images)

The city is suing a property owner on the Upper West Side for allegedly breaking the law by converting 250 affordable rentals into a hotel. But the owner claims he’s within his rights to operate the building for short-term stays.

The mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement filed the lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court Wednesday against Impulsive Group CEO Hank Freid, the Commercial Observer reported. The lawsuit claims that three of Freid’s buildings – the Marrakech Hotel at 2688 Broadway, the Royal Park Hotel at 258 West 97th Street and The Broadway Hotel at 230 West 101st Street – were illegally converted from residences to hotel rooms.

The city has issued more than $1 million worth of violations and summonses against the properties since December 2011, and is seeking an injunction against Freid’s use of the buildings.

But Freid’s lawyer said the properties have been used as single-room occupancy hotels since the 1940s, and claims that in February Freid proved to the city’s Environmental Control Board that the property is allowed to be used for transient uses.

Fried’s lawyer, Ronald Rosenberg, said the state’s 2011 amendment to the multiple dwelling law – meant to curb short-term rentals like those promoted by Airbnb – unconstitutionally made SROs that rent rooms for 30 days or less unlawful without giving owners enough time to adjust their business model.

“This is their attempt to stifle a property owner,” said Rosenberg, who filed a $50 million lawsuit in April. “It takes away a property owner’s right. They… are trying to take him out of business.”

The city, meanwhile, contends that the SRO designation simply means that Freid can rent the rooms out on a long-term basis.

“The city maintains that these units cannot be legally used for transient use,” said a spokesperson for the OSE. ”The [certificate of occupancy] reflects that they are Class-A permanent residential dwellings.” [CO]Rich Bockmann

Related Articles

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, 54 West 39th Street, 62 Grand Street, and 208 West 30th Street (Credit: Google Maps)

The Airbnb crackdown continues: City targets three more buildings

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Stanley “Skip” Karol, an Airbnb host (Credit: Getty Images and Youtube)

Airbnb host narrowly clears hurdle in First Amendment claim against city

A West Village Airbnb listing (Credit: Airbnb)

Airbnb Luxe launched without listings in one of their biggest potential markets — why?

Missed loan payments will approach Great Recession highs, a new report finds (Credit: iStock, Getty Images)

Missed loan payments to approach Great Recession levels: Fitch

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Airbnb)

Airbnb’s $1B fundraise comes with a hefty valuation cut

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Chesky by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Airbnb)

Airbnb raises $1B from private equity firms

From top: the Mondrian Oriental, Soho House and Colony Club (Credit: Google Maps, iStock)

A stunning 7,300 Covid-related layoffs in two days reported to state

The Javits Center and 461 West 34th Street, with Marx Development Group’s David Marx (Credit: Javits Centerby Pablo Monsalve / VIEWpress via Getty Images; Google Maps)

As hotels across NYC shutter, David Marx’s fills rooms