Hotel Chelsea is partially back in business, ready to rent out rooms to those who can tolerate some of its ongoing construction.
The iconic hotel is taking bookings across two floors of rooms, the New York Post reported. The hotel’s website includes a message that rooms are being offered at a “hard-hat” rate due to ongoing renovation of the property at 222 West 23rd Street.
While the limited bookings don’t constitute a full reopening, the property’s representatives told the Post that the goal is to fully open late this summer. A lobby attendant told the outlet the hotel was aiming for September.
The reopening will end the hotel’s 11-year absence from the city’s hospitality market. It also represents major progress after the owners sued the city over renovation delays less than a year ago.
Hoteliers Ira Drukier, Richard Born and Sean MacPherson of BD Hotels filed a lawsuit against the city, the Department of Buildings and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development alleging delays cost the developers more than $100 million. Plans to renovate the hotel have been in the works for a decade, but the city issued a stop-work order in 2018 after a small group of longtime tenants alleged harassment via construction.
The hoteliers bought the property in 2016 for $250 million, hoping to bring the property back to life. The previous ownership group, led by Joseph Chetrit and Ed Scheetz, already had construction permits in place for work including renovations of the lobby and interior work on the rooms.
In 2018, however, the HPD allegedly changed the hotel’s occupancy designation to “single-room occupancy multiple dwelling,” requiring the developers to obtain a certificate of no harassment. They applied for the certificate in 2019 and HPD began investigating soon after.
HPD said in August 2019 there was cause to believe harassment had taken place at the hotel. After the department filed a petition against Drukier, the case was moved to the city’s internal law court. Before a trial was set to resume in early 2021, ownership found a document showing the hotel was classified as a luxury hotel in 1997, dropping the need for an SROMD designation. HPD quickly withdrew its case and the DOB rescinded the stop-work order.
For those willing to brave the construction, the typical room rate through April is $375 per night, according to the hotel’s website.
[NYP] — Holden Walter-Warner