The Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn Heights has lived many lives, starting as one of the borough’s most luxurious inns, hosting the Brooklyn Dodgers’ celebration when they won their only World Series in 1955, falling into disrepair and becoming a partial SRO in the 1960s and ’70s, and seeing a revival as a place where members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses could stay in luxurious suites for free when visiting the Big Apple.
But for the last 10 years, its attempt to reinvent itself as a boutique hotel has fallen flat.
Now, the New York Post is reporting the hotel once known as the “Waldorf-Astoria of Brooklyn” has been hit with a $112 million pre-foreclosure notice that claims it has missed mortgage payments and has accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Wells Fargo filed the notice against Chetrit Group, the building’s owner, on April 13 in Kings County Supreme Court, claiming the real estate developer owes more than $126.7 million on a $112 million loan dating back to 2019.
Chetrit Group and another investor it eventually bought out took on the 14-story, 187,200-square-foot Italian Renaissance Revival property from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2012 for $81 million, announcing at the time it had plans to turn it back into an elegant 302-room hotel with a “neighborhood feel.”
“It’s such a jewel of a hotel, and it’ll bring a restaurant and a rooftop lounge, which I think will be a tremendous asset to the community,” Kathleen Cudahy, a representative for the builder, said at the time. Back then, the goal was to get the hotel open by late 2013.
Since then, promises of openings have come and gone. The Brooklyn Paper had a sneak-peak inside the hotel in 2014, when “tarps and partitions still line the grand main floor and most of the other levels are in the midst of gut renovations.”
In June of 2016, it was announced the hotel would reopen in October of 2017, by which time ownership claimed it was in the final stages of its renovation and had named an operator of the hotel which had given it the new name, Esplendor Bossert.
But that opening date again passed without a guest allowed to walk through the door.
The hotel did open its doors for two hours in 2017, when members of the Montague Business Improvement District held their annual meeting there, but never strayed beyond the lobby.
In the filing, the bank claims that it sent out a number of default notices to the owners and that it plans to sell the hotel to recoup a more than $126 million outstanding balance.
[NYP] — Vince DiMiceli