Chelsea Hotel Landlord Ordered to Fix Renovation Damage

By Mathew Katz on May 7, 2012 5:46pm 

Mary Anne Rose-Gentry, an eighth-floor tenant at the Chelsea Hotel, shows how mold has ruined her walls on May 6, 2012.
Mary Anne Rose-Gentry, an eighth-floor tenant at the Chelsea Hotel, shows how mold has ruined her walls on May 6, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Aidan Gardiner

MANHATTAN — A judge has ordered the owner of the Hotel Chelsea to clean up his act in the wake of outcry from residents who say a controversial renovation to the historic building is hazardous to their health.

The order issued Monday will require the landlord, Joseph Chetrit, to remove all the mold in the building, fix numerous building violations and repair any damages to tenants' apartments caused by the renovation by the end of July.

The decision will also force the developer to put greater protections in place to stop dust and debris from entering tenants' living spaces.

The renovation, which started last fall, spewed hazardous levels of dust, mold, and lead into the air, according to an environmental report commissioned by the tenants.

In December, a judge issued a partial order requiring the landlord to address unsafe conditions in the hallways, particularly the large amount of dust drummed up by construction.

In a rally Sunday, a group of nearly 40 tenants and political leaders, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane, and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, gathered in front of the iconic building at 222 W. 23rd St. to call for fixes to the renovation.

On Monday, tenants praised the judge's decision and said that it gives them the power to protect themsleves from a damaging renovation.

"This proves we do exist," said Zoe Pappas, who heads up the Chelsea Hotel Tenant's Association.

"This is becoming an official legal instrument — the moment they break the law, we can take them to court."

Pappas added that the association wanted to thank all the elected officials who have supported them through the ongoing renovation.

The landlord also agreed to regularly brief tenants on the status of the renovation at regular meetings facilitated by Community Board 4, though it was not immediately clear when those would begin.

The battle over the renovation is far from over, however. The Chetrit Group is still attempting to build a rooftop bar on the top of the building, though documents show the building is already too big for the area it's zoned for.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn speaks against hazardous living conditions at the Chelsea Hotel on May 6, 2012.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn speaks against hazardous living conditions at the Chelsea Hotel on May 6, 2012.
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(DNAinfo/Aidan Gardiner)

Representatives for the Chetrit Group did not immediately respond for comment.

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