Owners of illegal Marrakech Hotel settle with city for $275K

The agreement also blocks Hank Fried’s Branic International Realty from further advertising of the residential building as a hotel.
By David Jeans | July 31, 2019 03:30PM

Hank Freid and 2686-2690 Broadway (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps)

Hank Freid and 2686-2690 Broadway (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps)

Residents of an Upper West Side complex had long complained that their landlord was illegally running their building as the budget “Marrakech Hotel.”

Now, the city has reached a settlement with Hank Fried, owner of the building at 2688-2690 Broadway. After an investigation by the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, Fried’s firm, Branic International Realty, was found to have transformed the residential building into an illegal hotel.

The agreement prevents the landlord from operating the complex as an advertised, operated or occupied hotel, and includes a $274,400 penalty.

In a statement, the Office of Special Enforcement’s executive director Christian Klossner said the agreement will ensure the site remains a residential property. “This resolution ends the nuisance of the Marrakech Hotel once and for all,” Klossner said.

Attorney Ronald J. Rosenberg, who is representing Branic, said in a statement that the Marrakech Hotel building is being sold to an undisclosed buyer, and that a closing is “imminent.” The attorney said that the litigation concluded without Branic admitting any wrongdoing.

“This is a great outcome for Branic and for the future use of the property at a time when the market is demanding luxury condos in the heart of Manhattan,” Rosenberg’s statement read.

The city first took aim at Fried’s firm in July 2017, alleging that it had transformed 250 affordable rentals into hotel suites at three sites: 2688-2690 Broadway, the Royal Park Hotel at 258 West 97th Street and The Broadway Hotel at 230 West 101st Street. Over the preceeding six years, the city had issued more than $1 million in violations and summonses at the properties.

Last year the hotel owner was again targeted as part of a crackdown by the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, which issued a $55,000 penalty against the landlord for transforming the residential building into a Marrakech Hotel.

The city’s special enforcement group has also become known for its work investigating illegal use of Airbnb in residential units. Last November, the unit conducted raids on a luxury rental tower on the Far West Side, where city agents issued almost two dozen violations. In January, the city filed a lawsuit against Torkian Group, alleging that the landlord generated $1.1 million revenue from illegal Airbnb rentals.