Billionaires’ Row homeless shelter is a go

Lawsuit to stop a men’s shelter in Midtown has been dismissed

The Park Savoy Hotel at 158 W 58th Street (Google Maps)
The Park Savoy Hotel at 158 W 58th Street (Google Maps)

The southern end of Central Park is home to a set of ultra-luxury, supertall skyscrapers. And soon, thanks to a legal ruling, those buildings along Billionaires’ Row will have a men’s homeless shelter as a neighbor.

On Thursday, the state’s highest court tossed out a lawsuit alleging that the proposed shelter site, the shuttered Park Savoy Hotel at 158 West 58th Street, was unfit for housing, Bloomberg News reported.

Neighborhood residents under the umbrella of the West 58th Street Coalition filed the lawsuit in 2018, claiming that the city had misclassified the 1910 hotel for residential use, as the building didn’t meet current standards and the structure’s age posed safety hazards.

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A judge threw out the case in April 2019, ruling that a temporary certificate of occupancy issued by the city for the building satisfied legal requirements.

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In August, a Manhattan appeals court reconsidered the case on the basis that the hotel may not have met “general safety and welfare standards,” Bloomberg reported.

But an Albany appellate court reversed the decision this week, attesting that the Manhattan appeals court had overstepped its authority. The judge ruled that a court couldn’t second guess a determination by an “authorized agency with a rational basis” by holding a hearing to find additional facts or evidence that the agency wasn’t aware of when it made its determination.

The decision allows for the development of “a resource-rich shelter that New Yorkers desperately need,” the city’s Law Department told Bloomberg News in a statement.

[Bloomberg News] — Suzannah Cavanaugh