Plans to bring an 8-story hotel next to the East Village’s Merchant’s House Museum were dealt a resounding blow on Thursday when the City Council’s subcommittee on zoning and franchises unanimously rejected the proposal.
Construction adjacent to the nearly 200-year-old historic home would almost certainly have destroyed it, the museum argued, and City Council members concurred with the concerns of the museum operators and local residents. East Villagers have been campaigning against the project for years now, and only renewed their efforts as the project finally started making its way through the approvals process earlier this year.
The hotel proposal—which is being put forward by Kalodop II Park Corp—was similarly rejected by the community board in June. All 41 members of the board voted against the hotel. In July, the museum filed a lawsuit against the City Planning Commission and the developer alleging that the two parties had not adequately represented the danger construction would pose to the house.
With the City Council subcommittee’s rejection, the proposal will now go to the full City Council next week. The City Council member representing the district the museum is in, Carlina Rivera, said she was open to discussions with the developers, and to come to a different solution, but she asserted that her priority was to ensure the protection and continuity of the museum. Without her support it is very unlikely that other City Council members will oppose her position (council members usually tend to side with the member representing that district on neighborhood issues).
“We believe this proposal goes too far,” said Rivera, of the 100-foot hotel development. The hotel had previously received the approval of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission but not without commissioners calling it “drab on so many levels.” The Merchant’s House Museum rejoiced on Instagram shortly after the vote on Thursday.