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Midtown's Buckingham Hotel to Be Renamed Quin Hotel

By Mathew Katz | April 16, 2012 9:20am
The Buckingham Hotel is currently undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation.
The Buckingham Hotel is currently undergoing a top-to-bottom renovation.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

MIDTOWN — The historic Buckingham Hotel will soon reopen as The Quin Hotel, according to a memo given to the building's few remaining residents.

The memo provided to DNAinfo directed residents to Highgate Hotels as the new management company for the building at 101 W. 57th St., which has been undergoing an extensive two-year renovation.

A representative at Highgate confirmed the name change and said that it had entered into a management agreement for the hotel, but does not own it.

Highgate owns or manages several hotels around the city, including Park Central and the Paramount. The Buckingham is owned by 101 West 57th Street Hotel Investors LLC, which did not respond to calls for comment.

Opened in 1929, the Buckingham was once a hub for opera singers and jazz musicians visiting the city to perform, largely because it is close to many of the city's premiere theaters. The lobby once had numerous sculptures of famous musicians, complete with their old instruments. It's unclear if the new management will maintain the hotel's musical theme.

Less than a dozen long-term tenants remain at the hotel in rent-stabilized apartments. Those residents have complained about a nightmare full-building renovation that's caused noise, flooding, broken pipes, hanging wires, and respiratory problems they blame on toxic dust.

The city's Department of Buildings lifted a partial stop-work order on the building in December, but the hotel's seven remaining elderly residents said their situation has not improved.

"We don't feel safe," said resident Barbara Wagner. "I have to get out of here during the day because of the construction."

According to Department of Building records, there have been nine official complaints from residents in the hotel, along with 33 open violations and 8 open environmental violations.

Last year, residents commissioned an environmental and safety report from Olmsted Environmental Services. The report found asbestos and lead mixed in with dust in the air, along with excessive levels of crystalline silica, a lung irritant and potential carcinogen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Wagner, there's barely been any improvement since the report. Wagner added that for the past few months, the tenants have been forced to use the building's service elevators to get to their apartments, often sharing the rides with large carts of the building's dusty innards.

"We have been exposed to asbestos for over a year, as well as other toxins," she said.

A representative from Highgate Hotels could not comment on the tenants' plight, but did stress what she described as the company's "excellent track record" of dealing with "turnaround" hotels like the Buckingham.