HELL'S KITCHEN — The five-story building badly damaged in a large fire Wednesday is owned by a company that just days before was cited by government officials as the city's worst illegal hotel operator.
Highpoint Associates VII LLC owes the city more than $100,000 in fines for illegally renting out apartments for less than 30 days at a time, a violation of city law. The company, which owns 412 W. 46th St. where the fire broke out, also has been cited for fire code violations such as no sprinkler system, unmarked fire exits and an inadequate fire alarm system.
This isn't the only fire in a Highpoint property.
On Dec. 5, a blaze started in a building the company owns next door at 410 W. 46th St., FDNY officials said.
At least seven different apartments in the two buildings were issued Department of Buildings violations multiple times for transient use since 2012, records show.
On Wednesday evening around 6 p.m. a blaze ignited in the space between the ceiling and the roof of the top floor apartment at Highpoint's building located at 412 W. 46th St.. No one was harmed but many were rattled.
A spokeswoman for Keystone Management, which runs the West 46th Street property, declined to comment.
Highpoints Associates VII LLC could not be reached, though property records show the company is based out of Ventura, Calif.
Earlier this week Public Advocate Letitia James put out a list of 30 landlords that have been fined nearly $800,000 dollars for running illegal hotels. Highpoint had the most violations and fines.
“We think its really critically important that we get increased inspections and fines in order to protect the public and to prevent incidents such as this fire from occurring," James said in a telephone interview.
“At some point we need to look at the criminal code and see if some of these owners can be [charged with criminal offenses]."