JACKSON HEIGHTS — A local developer who pleaded guilty to taking part in a pay-to-play scheme in Brooklyn, is planning a seven-story hotel designed for long-term stays, particularly for new residents looking for a permanent place to stay, he said.
Mohammed Aziz filed plans with the Department of Buildings for a 22-unit hotel at 37-38 73rd St., including 1,900-square-feet for a community center.
He said the hotel, which is on a narrow lot, is aimed at new residents who are transitioning to apartments in and around Jackson Heights.
"It's not like exactly a hotel, it's going to be a residential hotel," he told DNAinfo New York. "It's going to be so they can rent a room for a monthly stay."
Aziz, who is involved in the local Bangladeshi business community, said new immigrants often come to the neighborhood without a place to stay — but his hotel can help them as they settle.
"They can rent monthly room, come in this country and stay for two three months," he said. "They can rent their own apartment and they can move out from there."
Construction on the project doesn't have a start date, as he still has to get the plans approved and then secure a construction loan, he said.
Aziz, who has developed housing across the city, was investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in 2012 as part of a pay-to-play probe of politicians.
Investigators found he tried to give $5,000 in cash to then-Brooklyn Councilwoman Darlene Mealy in exchange for help getting a contract through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal facilitation in 2012, but said it was a "setup" and that his record is clear. He paid the $1,000 fine, court records show.
Aziz said his goal now isn't focused on profit — but on philanthropy.
"I'm not doing only for money, I'm doing it for the community," he said, referring to his hotel. "I like to help my community."