It's been tumultuous times for the Hotel Chelsea, 23rd Street's legendary bohemian enclave, ever since the board of directors ousted longtime manager Stanley Bard back in 2007. Since then, managers have come and gone, and the hotel (which has about 100 rental apartments in addition to 125 hotel rooms) has suffered bad press due to some messy artist evictions and questionable renovations.
We'd say it's been a terrible run for the 125-year-old red-brick landmark, but that whole Sid and Nancy thing probably wasn't sunshine and rainbows, either. Now the owners are throwing in the towel, the Wall Street Journal reports. With the hotel needing a pretty thorough update to compete with the boutique hotel boom, the 15 shareholders have decided to sell. No asking price yet, just mourning for the freewheelin' days of yore.
For an 80-year period or so, the hotel hosted pretty much every talented New Yorker with a rebellious streak, leading to quite the impressive Wikipedia entry. Hotel management would famously accept works of art or other nontraditional barters in lieu of rent when tenants fell behind. With a sale, those business practices, if not completely gone already, will really disappear. Comparisons are being made to another former bohemian hotspot that recently went upscale, the Gramercy Park Hotel, as well as the hipsteriffic Ace Hotel (formerly the Breslin). According to the WSJ, the "Hotel Chelsea brand name could be valuable for any hotel company trying to break into New York's highly competitive market," as depressing a sentence you're likely to read all year.
· Hotel Chelsea Seeks Buyer for Rehab [WSJ]
· Hotel Chelsea coverage [Curbed]