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Plans Dropped for Fancy Rental Property on UWS That Riled Rock Star Wife

By Leslie Albrecht | November 15, 2010 8:16am

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER WEST SIDE — Plans to bring an upscale rental property to the Upper West Side have been scrapped after neighbors — including the ex-wife of a 1970's rock star — protested.

Developer Fine Times, Inc. says it won't move ahead with plans to convert a historic townhouse on West 68th Street and Central Park West into a short-term rental for ultra-wealthy clients.

Fine Times managing partner Joe Lopez said in an e-mail that he withdrew the application for the special permit he would have needed to open the hotel.

"We have not decided on our final plans for the building ... however the building will undergo a detailed and meticulous renovation in 2011," Lopez said in an e-mail.

Fine Times's hotel plan drew the ire of some neighborhood residents, who worried guests at the exclusive rental would host rowdy parties on their quiet block.

Among them was Lydia Criss, the ex-wife of KISS drummer Peter Criss, who lives a few doors away from the townhouse.

Lydia Criss, who wrote a memoir called "Sealed With A Kiss" that detailed her wild nights with KISS, told Community Board 7 she was concerned stars like Lady Gaga and Jay-Z would rent the townhouse and use it as a venue for boisterous get-togethers.

Criss said last month that she knows from personal experience that celebrities don't think twice about behaving badly in hotels. That's what happened when KISS took over two floors of a hotel in Japan, she said.

Criss said in an e-mail that she was "thrilled" when she found out the hotel plan had been abandoned. She said most people in the West 68th Street block association were happy too, except for several tenants of the four buildings that Fine Times, Inc. already owns on the block. Many of them supported Fine Times's plan.

"I guess there always has to be a winner and a sore loser," Criss said in an e-mail.

Fine Times, Inc. insisted the rental townhouse would enhance the neighborhood by restoring the 1910 mansion to its former glory. Fine Times, which specializes in renovating historic properties, owns four other buildings on West 68th Street and 12 on the Upper West Side.

The townhouse that Fine Times hope to convert into a rental property, at 15 West 68th Street, was built in 1910 as a mansion for a wealthy family, said George Fontas of Capalino & Company, lobbyists for Fine Times, last month. In the 1940s, it was chopped up into several apartments. It's been sitting vacant for the past several years.

The Beaux Arts townhouse has elegant interiors with sweeping staircases, a chandelier, tapestries, fireplaces and stained glass windows.

It's rumored that Madonna considered buying the building a few years ago.