The Trump Soho condo-hotel at 246 Spring Street has already given us BoneGate and UsageGate, and now we have ClosetGate, which is kinda-sorta related to UsageGate but is still very worthy of its own Gate suffix. The Board of Standards & Appeals met today to hear the Soho Alliance's legal challenge to the permits issued by the Buildings Department for the Trump Soho, which is classified as a "transient hotel" under zoning law. Judging by the TV cameras in the room, perhaps some were hoping for an appearing from The Donald himself. Alas, it was not meant to be. The Soho Alliance (and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and other activists and locals) argued that owners of the Trump Soho units cannot claim transient residence, especially when they can technically live there for 240 days over a 365 day period, and the Trump Soho advertises "private owner's closets" on its website. A-ha! How can a transient resident own a permanent and private anything, the Soho Alliance's lawyer argued? THE SMOKING GUN! Eh, not really.
The Buildings Department and a lawyer representing the Trump Soho development team came back with numerous citations of multiple dwelling law and building codes that back up the Trump Soho's "transient hotel" claim, including the lack of mailboxes, trash chutes and cooking facilities. Loads of local Community Board members and neighbors lined up the fire off three-minute rants about preserving manufacturing districts and closing loopholes?and the BSA did express some concern that the Trump Soho residential time limits are basically unenforceable?but judging by the chairwoman's facial expressions aimed at the Soho Alliance's lawyer (which went from amused to annoyed to angry over the course of the hearing), there's no way in hell the BSA is reversing the Buildings Department's decision. Oh, plus the building is already 40+ stories out of the ground. Still, both sides will get chances to submit new materials and rebuttals, and a decision should come the first week of May. Meanwhile, interior work on the Trump Soho's lower floors continues, with the Stop Work Order issued after a construction worker's death still in effect for the higher floors.
· Trump Soho Reaches Out to the Google-Approved Masses [Curbed]
· Trump Soho Fallout: 'Substandard' Work and Shady Pasts [Curbed]
· Troubles With Trump: The Monster of Soho? [Curbed]