Group appeals Trump SoHo’s approval

SoHo Alliance seeks BSA intervention to halt construction. On October 26, 2007, the SoHo Alliance Community Group filed an appeal with BSA in an attempt to thwart construction of the Trump SoHo, a 42-story condominium hotel that would be located at 246 Spring Street, between Varick Street and Sixth Avenue. The appeal comes after the Department of Buildings denied the Alliance’s request to revoke approval for the condominium hotel.

Buildings approved the plans for the Trump SoHo on September 28, 2007, but required that the developer file a restriction against the property that prohibits owners of any one of the condominium hotel’s 413 residential units from living there for more than 29 consecutive days in any 36-day period, or a total of about 120 days per calendar year. The restriction, according to Buildings, put the Trump SoHo under the transient hotel exception to the zoning district’s general prohibition against residential developments. Under the approval, Buildings would conduct audits and issue financial penalties to enforce the restriction.

In its appeal, the Alliance argues that Buildings’ approval should be revoked because it is insufficient and unenforceable. Citing the zoning resolution, which describes transient hotels as having rooms available for rent on a daily basis for transient use, the Alliance claims that the approval’s restriction does not go far enough because owners of residential units at the Trump SoHo could still live there for a significant portion of the year. The Alliance also cites a 2003 Buildings decision, in which Buildings denied a developer’s request to build a condominium hotel in SoHo because applying the transient hotel exception would be “undermining the integrity” of the zoning resolution. Lastly, the Alliance argues that the restriction is unenforceable because Buildings does not have the resources to effectively audit the Trump SoHo. Moreover, according to the Alliance, the proposed financial penalties would be nominal to owners of Trump SoHo units given the cost of the units.

BSA has not announced a date for a hearing on this matter.

BSA: 246 Spring St. (Stuart A. Klein, Esq., for the Alliance).

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