Hotel Chelsea tenants file suit over alleged environmental violations

The new owner of the Hotel Chelsea and the building’s long-term tenants will have their day in court, the New York Times reported this weekend.

The tenants’ lawyer, Samuel Himmelstein, told the Times that repeated attempts to meet with landlord Joseph Chetrit, who bought the landmarked hotel in August for $78 million, were ignored.

Chetrit began renovations at the hotel, at 222 West 23rd Street, under the supervision of project architect Gene Kaufman in October.

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The tenants association filed suit in Manhattan Housing Court last Friday.

As previously reported, the tenants association, which represents 40 or so of the 23rd Street hotel’s tenants, hired an independent environment inspector, Edward Olmstead, to examine the building in October. Olmstead produced a report that found elevated levels of lead and dust that violated Environmental Protection Agency limits, as well as mold and crystalline silica, the Times said.

Some tenants are taking their own separate legal actions, such as Faye Lane, who described severe water damage to her room and belongings to the Times. [NYT]