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Pols Reassure Hotel Chelsea Residents Amid Renovations

By Mathew Katz | August 10, 2011 11:33am | Updated on August 10, 2011 2:25pm
The Hotel Chelsea is no longer accepting guests.
The Hotel Chelsea is no longer accepting guests.
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MANHATTAN — Residents at the famed Hotel Chelsea have been contacted by politicians telling them of their rights as the building undergoes major renovation.

A letter signed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough President Scott Stringer, among others, urged occupants to contact their representatives if the work becomes too intrusive, or if their landlord tries to deny them their rights as tenants.

The note was obtained by the New York Observer.

A representative from Quinn's office said that the letter was sent after calls from several worried tenants.

The historic building — which was home to Bohemian legends including Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix — was recently bought for more than $80 million by developer Joseph Chetrit. It closed to guests late last month, though roughly 100 long-term tenants have been allowed to stay.

"Because this building has landmark status, changes certainly may need to be approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission," the letter said. "Our offices will be monitoring this process.
"Upon completion, it has been reported and Mr. Chetrit has indicated that he has plans to reopen the hotel and begin accepting new reservations."

Lisa Ackerman has lived at the hotel for 11 years. She said many residents were scared of the new ownership, but that the letter offers some comfort.

“If they start to mess with us, it may have an effect,” she said.

Ackerman said that most residents were being kept in the dark, and changes were coming daily – most recently, the new owners had taken the Chelsea's trademark artwork off of hallway walls.

“They don’t tell us anything,” she said. “It’d be nice to be informed. We do live here, after all.”