Chelsea Hotel Passover: A Lot More Than Four Questions as Chetrit Marks the Doors

chelseahotel1 e1312897793874 Chelsea Hotel Passover: A Lot More Than Four Questions as Chetrit Marks the Doors

Something is happening, but we don't fully know what it is...

Shortly before noon last Thursday, a woman with a German accent stepped to the front desk of the Chelsea Hotel, and demanded in clipped English her reservation.

“The hotel’s closed,” said a distracted employee behind the desk. He was holding a severance letter presented earlier by the hotel’s new owner, The Chetrit Group, led by the enigmatic real estate investor Joseph Chetrit, whose holdings include the Willis Tower in Chicago, North America’s tallest building, and over 4.9 million square feet of commercial space in New York City.

“Closed? I have a reservation, please,” the woman said.

She got no answer. Sensing something, she tried again.

“Is this the InterContinental?”

“No, no,” said the employee. The Observer stifled a laugh—the InterContinental is a top-shelf hotel, down West 44th Street from The New York Observer Building, while the Chelsea is… the Chelsea, New York’s craziest inn, a shambling legend that might, under Mr. Chetrit’s purview, morph into a boutique hotel.

No one quite knows, though, even more than a week after Mr. Chetrit closed Aug. 1 on his $80 million purchase. The word from industry sources is that he will turn it into a fancier version of its current, elderly aunt self. But nothing’s been filed with the Buildings Department; the tenants that we managed to talk to don’t know much; and the former employees declined to talk (as did their union and Mr. Chetrit).

A source close to the situation, however, said the new owner has agreed to assume the collective bargaining agreement covering 37 unionized employees; that he is paying them through the end of August even though most have been laid off; and that some might, in fact, return when the boutique—or whatever—opens.

We did make it upstairs last Thursday, past Mr. Chetrit’s people and that distracted skeletal staff (the lobby, in fact, was rather busy; an anomaly, post-Chetrit buy, a tenant assured us). We found all of the former hotel rooms—reservations ceased at the end of July—whitewashed and padlocked, a veritable real estate Passover marking them for whatever changes may come.

Meanwhile, for the tenants spread over at least 79 rooms, the place is much quieter and the elevators come much quicker. And they did get a cooing letter, dated Aug. 4, from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Thomas Duane and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

They noted that Mr. Chetrit’s renovations will take about a year, and that the tenants should call if anything looks amiss. Otherwise, they are to sit tight and watch along with everyone else.

tacitelli@observer.com   ::   Follow on Twitter @tacitelli

 

Comments

  1. Martin says:

    the passover reference may be lost, and is unnecessary, unless we are killing first borns, ;

    fleeing in the night, with loot/ reparations, might be relevant

    the unleavened bread part needs work LOL

  2. Carla Beckwith says:

    We were looking forward to our annual August stay at the Chelsea, but alas, that will probably never happen again. Now we’re looking for an alternate vacation destination…my husband said, “Well, aren’t we still going to New York?”  And my stomach dropped at the thought of going there and not staying at the Chelsea. Ahhh…missing her equates to losing a loved one.  So glad we were able to enjoy and experience this time capsule of bohemia while we could. And to Pete…the ever gracious front desk man, thanks for taking such good care of us during our stays there! I hope you land on your feet!!

    1. Anonymous says:

      just paiid $21.87 for an i P a d2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from,
      http://EgoWin.com

  3. BRUCEYACHTSUSA says:

    WILL BE A BETTER PLACE WITHOUT THE UNION ONLY KEEP THE BRIGHTEST AND BEST