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Chelsea Hotel Construction Can Continue after HPD Backs Down

Chelsea Hotel with Ira Drukier and Richard Born (Getty)

Chelsea Hotel with Ira Drukier and Richard Born (Getty)

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.

In May, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the hotel owner by five tenants who argued their new landlord never got a proper certificate of occupancy. [The City] — Akiko Matsuda