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Controversial Hotel Chelsea Rooftop Addition Barely Visible in Plans

By Mathew Katz | February 14, 2012 2:54pm | Updated on February 14, 2012 3:16pm
A rendering of what the Hotel Chelsea's north side will look like after a proposed modification of the building's exterior.
A rendering of what the Hotel Chelsea's north side will look like after a proposed modification of the building's exterior.
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Gene Kaufman

CHELSEA — On the outside, it doesn't look like much will change at the iconic Hotel Chelsea.

But plans to modify the legendary lodge, after its purchase by the Chetrit Group last year, include such features as a new awning and exterior lighting, the creation of a rear yard, and the replacement of existing windows and storefronts, according to renderings obtained by DNAinfo.

There's also a controversial rooftop addition proposed for the landmark building at 222 W. 23rd St.

Renderings drafted by architect Gene Kaufman show only minor changes to the facade, with the rooftop space — a two-story addition that would likely include a bar — barely peeking into view. The before-and-after renderings, all shown from street level, only offer a glimpse of the rooftop from below.

It was not clear from the renderings what the storefront work would entail, though the images do show one of the hotel's existing retail tenants on the ground floor.

Many hotel residents and neighbors have come out against the proposed 16- to 30-foot rooftop extension, saying it would create noise, block views, and look out of character with the historic building.

The Department of Buildings rejected a November application to move ahead with the rooftop bar, largely because of a lack of proper fire exits from the rooftop.
Last month, however, the DOB approved the hotel's application to build 16- to 30-foot-tall piece of rooftop scaffolding that would serve as mock-up for the extension so the Landmarks Preservation Commission can see what the proposed new structure would look like.

In order to move forward with the renovations, the Chetrit Group needs approval from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission. Representatives from the Chetrits will present their plans to the Community Board 4 Landmarks Committee on Wednesday.

Opponents of the rooftop expansion plan to rally at the meeting, and residents have started a poster campaign inviting opposition to show support en masse. 

The inside of the hotel is currently undergoing an extensive renovation, which residents say continues to harm their health.

The Community Board 4 Landmarks Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 in the Community Room at the Clinton Housing Development Co., 353 W. 30th St.