Chelsea Hotel demolition sparks Buildings Dept. probe after complaints from furious residents
Saturday, October 22nd 2011, 4:00 AMJeffrey Bachner for NewsChelsea Hotel residents say construction at the iconic building is a health hazard.
Residents of the W. 23rd St. building, who organized and hired a lawyer after it was sold, said major work on the sixth and seventh floors began with no notice.
"It's a very old building. There could be traces of asbestos, silica.... We should not have to breathe that," said tenant Zoe Pappas. "We just want them to follow the rules and remember that people live here."
The Chelsea Hotel was sold over the summer to major developer Joseph Chetrit, reportedly for $77 million. The building has about 80 occupied apartments and 175 now-vacant hotel rooms.
The tenants' lawyer, Sam Himmelstein, fired off a letter demanding "unlawful demolition" stop. He said work areas were unsealed, exits were blocked and the hallways were strewn with debris.
A spokeswoman for the Buildings Department said it got four complaints and plans to inspect. A lawyer for Chetrit, Michael Brown, did not return a request for comment.
"There hasn't been any communication since the work began," said artist Mary Ann Rose. "They've been vague since the start.... The whole building is anxious. You don't know what to expect. You can't even feel comfortable in your own home."
October 26, 2011
Chelsea Hotel demolition sparks via Donkey