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17-Story Hotel to Replace Building That Housed Chelsea Gay Bar, Owner Says

 The former XES Lounge building at 157 W. 24th St., near Seventh Avenue (at center).
The former XES Lounge building at 157 W. 24th St., near Seventh Avenue (at center).
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

CHELSEA — A Manhattan hotelier plans to tear down a four-story building that once housed the popular XES Lounge and construct a 17-story hotel in its place.

36 Hudson Hotel owner Jin Sup An on Friday filed for permits to demolish the mixed-use building at 157 W. 24th St., near Seventh Avenue, city Department of Buildings records show.

An plans to build the high-rise hotel after the building is razed, he told DNAinfo New York on Monday.

Demolition would likely start in two to three months, pending DOB approval, he said. He hadn’t yet filed for permits to construct the new building as of Monday, according to DOB records.

An previously owned the Hotel East Houston on the Lower East Side, but sold it just last week, he noted.

For a little over a decade, the ground floor of the building on West 24th Street was home to XES Lounge, a “no attitude” gay bar with a backyard patio. In September 2015, the venue announced that it had been served with a lease termination notice by the building’s new owners.

An's hospitality firm SMA Development Group bought the building in 2015, XES Lounge’s former general manager Tony Juliano said.

The building was purchased by 157 West 24th Street Lodging LLC, another An entity, in August 2015, a city Department of Finance spokesman said Tuesday. The entity is listed as An's business on the demolition application filed with the DOB.

A demolition clause in XES Lounge’s lease stated the group could terminate the bar’s lease if it planned to tear down the building, Juliano explained.

“It’s just unfortunate — it typifies what’s going on in New York,” said Juliano, who’s currently focused on opening a new bar in Florida. “The city loses its character when it loses its small businesses, and that’s really what’s happening.”

The bar ultimately closed its doors at the end of March 2016, he said.

Now, the ground floor is the temporary home of a gallery space called 3Squared, and the “couple” of residential tenants who still occupy the other floors are on “month-to-month” leases, An said.

The gallery, which opened last September, will remain on West 24th Street “until the building comes down,” co-owner Marina Dojchinov said Monday.

A DOB spokesman on Tuesday confirmed the department received An’s demolition application on Friday, but noted the hotelier would have to resolve three open violations at the property before any permits can be issued.

All three violations — two of which were issued in 2016 and one of which was issued back in 2006 — relate to “full height partitions” that were constructed inside the building’s apartments without work permits, DOB records show.

In August of last year, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement responded to a complaint about illegal hotel activity at the building and discovered “illegal transient occupancy” on its second, third and fourth floors, a spokesman for the office said on Tuesday.

A guest told the mayor's office the building had been advertised on TripAdvisor and a Korean language website, the spokesman said. The guest had been forced to stay on a different floor than the one he or she had booked “because of bedbugs,” according to the spokesman.

The office issued a partial vacate order for the second floor and issued $8,800 in fines to 157 West 24th Street Lodging LLC, the spokesman said. Subsequent inspections found that the second floor was no longer in use, he added.

An didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the open violations or the fines Tuesday.