UPDATED, Jan. 24, 3:50 p.m. — Though New York City failed to deliver on some politicians’ and activists’ hopes to convert hotels to affordable housing, at least one shuttered hotel is set to serve as transitional housing for the homeless.
The Hotel at New York City, a 117-room property in Murray Hill was sold last month by Apple Core Holdings to Slate Property Group, Crain’s reported. The building at 161 Lexington Avenue is going to be converted into transitional housing for the homeless in partnership with the Bowery Residents’ Committee.
The hotel, which has been closed since the onset of the pandemic, traded for $29.9 million, according to city documents.
The deal comes after the city passed a severance law, requiring area hotels to either recall staff and reopen by Nov. 11 or pay 28 weeks of severance. The law provided an exception for hotel conversions.
In early December, the New York Times reported that not a single hotel had been converted into permanent affordable housing since the start of the pandemic, despite the hotel industry’s struggles. Zoning and regulatory obstacles instead led some hotels to be converted into transient shelters.
The Hotel Association of New York City reported almost 200 closures between May 2020 and June 2021, with nearly half still shut by mid-November. A 2020 estimate of the homeless population in New York City totaled 78,000 people, believed to be an undercount.
In June, the state passed the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act, allocating up to $100 million for hotels and commercial buildings to be converted into affordable housing. Additionally, Mayor Eric Adams in September proposed converting more than a thousand hotel rooms into supportive and affordable housing.
In May, the state’s highest court threw out a lawsuit claiming the shuttered Park Savoy Hotel on Billionaires’ Row was unfit for housing, clearing the way for a men’s homeless shelter.
The shuttered Excelsior Hotel, meanwhile, recently sold to Emmut Properties for $80 million. The hotel was once used to house the homeless, but its new owner reportedly has plans to convert the property into apartments.
This article has been corrected to reflect that Slate Property Group purchased the hotel, not Prem Jyotish. The property’s sale price has also been added.
[Crain’s] — Holden Walter-Warner