The Hotel Chelsea has long been a favorite of hard-core rockers and those on the fringe. Many will be relieved to know now that the investor who has purchased the legendary New York hotel, will keep it as such, and not go the condo route. Joseph Chetrit, who previously upgraded the Empire Hotel, has bought Hotel Chelsea for $80 million and plans to make significant upgrades.
The Wall Street Journal reports that outlines for the hotel are now becoming clearer. The 12-floor 125-room hotel on West 23rd Street will be kept as a hotel but given a modern facelift. Upon closing, the sale will signal the end of control of the hotel by an ownership group led by three Hungarian families who bought the red-brick building in 1946. What remains unclear is if Chetrit will "continue the hotel's tradition of liberal rent-collection policies toward some struggling artists, though many in the hotel industry have expressed doubt that any new owner would continue such a policy," writes the WSJ.
Originally opened as one of the city's first cooperatives, then converted into a hotel in 1905, Hotel Chelsea has long been known as a haven for creative types (think Dylan Thomas, Thomas Wolfe and Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote "2001: A Space Odyssey" there). It's also been notorious: Hotel Chelsea was the site where Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of punk-rocker Sid Vicious, was stabbed to death.
Reports also say that many of the city's most famous hoteliers threw their hat in the ring for the hotel. These include Ian Schrager and Andre Balazs.