Five holdout tenants at the storied Hotel Chelsea are suing to maintain the building’s status as an apartment building for permanent residents—and to hold onto their rent stabilized apartments.
The former bohemian enclave on West 23rd Street has been undergoing a bungled conversion since 2007, when longtime manager Stanley Bard was unceremoniously ousted and the building’s partners started rolling out eviction notices to tenants hopeful of a high-end conversion.
The building was purchased by Ira Drukier and Richard Born of BD Hotels in late 2016 for $250 million with the intention of converting the property into a luxury hotel with condos. But according to the suit, the building’s long-term residents say the new owners never got a proper certificate of occupancy, the New York Post reports.
“As an apartment building, the building is a single-room-occupancy dwelling that is occupied for permanent residence purposes,” the suit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court reads.
The lawsuit is a last-ditch effort for the longtime residents who are seeking to maintain their space in the building, for themselves and tenants to come. The West 23rd Street landmark rose to its artistic prominence during Bard’s stay as manager from the 1950s through 2007, when celebrities including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Mapplethorpe, Janis Joplin, and Leonard Cohen passed through its doors.