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Troubled Midtown Hotel Could be Replaced With New 3-Story Building

By Noah Hurowitz | October 7, 2015 8:18am
 The owner of 302 E. 45th St. is looking to build a new three-story building in its place, records show.
The owner of 302 E. 45th St. is looking to build a new three-story building in its place, records show.
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DNAInfo/Noah Hurowitz

MIDTOWN EAST — A troubled Midtown guest house is set to be replaced by a new three-story residential building with retail space on the ground floor, according to papers filed with the city.

Joseph Stavrach, who owns the current four-story building at 302 E. 45th St. which houses the United Nations Apartment Hotel, is hoping to build a new three-story building on the narrow lot, and calls for retail on the ground floor and two floors of residential space, according to an application filed with the Department of Buildings on Sept. 4, which is still pending approval.

ODA, the architect listed for the project, has worked on a number of recent notable developments, including Eliot Spitzer’s proposed towers on Kent Avenue and the development at the former Rheingold Brewery in Williamsburg. A representative of ODA declined to comment, saying the project is still in early stages.

Stavrach, who was named by The Real Deal in 2013 as an owner of one of New York’s most debt-ridden buildings, did not respond to repeated calls for comment.

The hotel, which offers "apartment-style suites," has earned a poor reputation in the past year, with guests complaining of squalid conditions, including theft and cockroaches.

In addition, there have been eight complaints about illegal hotel activity in the building filed to the DOB since 2010, including one in 2011 that led investigators to issue a partial stop-work order, which is still in effect.

Inspectors found unauthorized alterations to the roof and the use of the second floor as hotel space, which was contrary to the floor's use described in its cetrificate of occupancy at the time, according to city records.

Investigators also fined the owner $250 in May when an illegal hotel complaint led them to find that the building's certificate of occupancy had expired, records show.

The building's current certificate of occupancy allows for hotel use, according to city records and DOB spokesman Alexander Schnell. However, that has not stopped complaints about it being an illegal hotel, including a complaint that was filed on Sept. 24 that is under investigation, according to 311 data.

The hotel's manager, who only gave his name as Eli, said the complaints were a mystery to him.

"I have no idea why people are complaining," said the manager, who only gave his name as Eli. "We have had two inspections and we have all the correct documents and certificates."

The manager said he had no knowledge of plans to replace the building, and he declined to comment on guests' reviews.