Chelsea Hotel reno can resume after housing department drops fight
Recently recovered document shows hotel is exempt from needing certificate of no harassment
The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has dropped its fight against the owner of Chelsea Hotel, allowing a long-planned renovation of the legendary hotel to move forward.
The housing agency reached the decision because of a 1997 document recently found in city archives, The City reported.
The document was brought to the agency’s attention by a consultant working for BD Hotels, the firm headed by Richard Born and Ira Drukier that bought a stake in the property in 2016. The archived document shows that the Chelsea Hotel’s previous owner had obtained an exemption to the standard requirement for a “certificate of no harassment,” based on the building’s status as a “luxury hotel.”
BD Hotels and the housing department were locked in a battle over whether planned upgrades to the building should be allowed to proceed. The agency in March asserted that the renovation work should not continue because a “certificate of no harassment” couldn’t be issued to the owner, as the property’s ongoing renovation has created unsafe conditions, amounting to tenant harassment. But the 1997 document — which the city only became aware of at the end of 2020 — allows the developers to get around that. A lawyer representing the hotel’s remaining residents called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the recovery of the notice.
In the meantime, with HPD’s case closed, construction can once again resume.