The city has decided to issue a stop-work order on construction at the historic Hotel Chelsea where hoteliers Richard Born and Ira Drukier of BD Hotels in collaboration with Sean MacPherson are proceeding with plans to redevelop the famed site into a luxury hotel with condos.
According to DNAinfo, the project was halted after the city received a complaint that unsafe work was creating dust, leading to a decision to issue the stop-work order to allow for sampling of the dust and lead testing. As of publication, results of those tests were not yet available. There are also 22 Environmental Control Board violations and 21 active violations from the Department of Buildings on the property, a spokesman told DNAinfo.
Update (4/14/17): The results of those lead tests have been made available by the city’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, and it isn’t pretty. DNAinfo reports the tests turned back concentrations of lead 26 times the legal limit. Dust swabbed from the construction site’s windowsills was found to contain 6,500 micrograms of lead per square foot. (The EPA counts the acceptable limit of lead on windowsills as 250 micograms per square foot.) The Chelsea’s owners must now enact measures to contain the dust.
The Hotel Chelsea, known for its long list of celebrity residents like Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Andy Warhol, has been undergoing a high-end condo conversion for the better part of a decade. It recently came under the control of its current owners in November 2016, but only after Drukier and company were able to come to an agreement with longtime building residents to preserve some of the building’s rich and detailed history—an effort led by longtime Hotel Chelsea resident Arthur Nash.