Yesterday, without informing the residents of the Chelsea Hotel or the Chelsea neighborhood, the Landmarks Preservation Committee rammed through their approval of a massive rooftop addition to the Historic Hotel. This came as quite a shock to concerned residents, many of whom had attended a prior meeting of the LPC on April 10, in which the committee rejected Architect Gene Kaufman’s plan for the proposed addition, ordering him to resubmit a more realistic proposal. Obviously, Kaufman has not had time to competently redesign the addition, and in any event the Chelsea community has a legitimate right to review any proposed changes.
It’s hard to know where to start in enumerating the problems that this ill-conceived structure (with it’s obvious use as a nightclub) would create. The 1883 Chelsea Hotel has long defined the Chelsea neighborhood and the proposed addition pays no attention whatsoever to historic context. What appears in “Holiday Inn” Kaufman’s renderings as a two-story corrugated tin building resembling an airport hanger, will be visible from the street, and it will destroy the historic gardens and community garden designed as an integrate part of the hotel by architect Philip Hubert. Light and air to artists’ studios on the top floor – part of the original design – will be severely compromised, if not eliminated entirely. Noise and vibrations from the club will plague both Hotel residents and residents of surrounding buildings.
Worst of all, what we found with the club in the basement – especially in its worse incarnation as Star Lounge – was that it was a magnet for vice. Club goers congregated in the lobby and the front of the hotel, and violence poured out of the club into the streets.
The LPC is a public agency charged with acting in the public interest. So why all the secrecy? Well, because Kaufman, the Chetrits, and the LPC all know that absolutely no one in the Chelsea Hotel or the Chelsea Community wants this club on the roof. The bottom line is, this is a community issue and the Chelsea community deserves better than to have this unprecedented nuisance shoved down its throat. We call on the LPC to revisit its improvident decision, and to schedule a proper, public meeting in which the final plans can be presented and subjected to legitimate community debate. -- Ed Hamilton
Below is the first 2:42 of Gene Kaufman's presentation at Community Board 4's public hearing on April 4, 2012. (You will need to turn up the volume on your speakers.) Here is a draft of the resolution which CB4 will send to the Landmarks Preservation Committee, which plans to hold a hearing about the Hotel on Tuesday, April 10, at 9:30 A.M., Conference Room at 1 Centre Street, 9th Floor. Additionally, CB4 will send a second letter requesting that LPC delay the process until there is a clearer understanding of the overall plans for the Hotel.
The Landmarks Committee of Community Board 4 voted on March 21 to NOT recommend the Chetrit Group's proposal for an addition to the roof of the Chelsea Hotel. On Wednesday, April 4, the full Community Board will have an opportunity to respond to the Committee's recommendation and hear other opinions before it makes a final recommendation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Among the concerns raised by the Landmarks Committee were: blockage of air and light to residents, the roof's loadbearing capacity, elevator security, and lack of appropriateness of the design. (Photo credit: DNAinfo - Joe Chetrit, Gene Kaufman and Architect)
Additionally, LPC has the Chelsea Hotel listed on their agenda for a public hearing on April 10. The hearing covers: Application to construct roof and rear yard additions, install mechnical equipment and balcony partitions; and replace storefronts, group floor infill, windows and a canopy.
Meeting Schedule: Community Board 4 - Wednesday, April 4, Fulton Center Auditorium, 119 Ninth Avenue between 17 / 18 Street, 6,30 pm -- Arrive early and sign up to speak.
Landmarks Preservation Commission - Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at 9:30 A.M., Conference Room at 1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
While it is important to attend these meetings in person if you are unable to attend you can also write a letter expressing your views:
Community Board 4 / Manhattan 330 West 42nd Street, 26th Floor New York, New York 10036