Artists and nostalgists need not fear–the Chelsea will remain a hotel.
Joseph Chetrit is the mysterious buyer taking over the famous flophouse, The Journal reports today, beating out more talked about suitors like Andre Balazs, Ian Schrager and David Edelstein. It appears he has no intention of creating condos, unlike some of his rivals.
It has almost become a cliche to rundown the artists who have called the redbrick edifice home–Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Courtney Love, Arthur C. Clark while writing 2001–but it bears mentioning because it looks like the Chelsea will continue this tradition, at least until the residents in the building’s 100 apartments are gone.
Mr. Chetrit has experience in dealing with concerns of tenants in buildings he’s acquired and upgraded. In a similar deal, his Chetrit Group in 2004 acquired the Empire Hotel, next to Lincoln Center, which housed a number of long-term residents.
Despite media reports that he planned to convert the building into condos-a popular trend at the time-he renovated the property and has maintained it as a hotel. He also moved a small number of existing tenants into renovated rooms at the Empire where they could live rent-free.
Rent-free! There are only two words that could make a New York artist happier: “Whitney retrospective.”