City descends on controversial Prince Hotel

February 18, 2016 Editorial Staff
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BY MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK & ANNA SPIVAK

Less than 24 hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised “aggressive enforcement” against the Prince Hotel – an alleged hotbed of drugs, prostitution and violence in the neighborhood — the New York City’s Sheriff’s Office dropped by for its payout.

According to Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, the Sheriff’s Office (by order of the mayor) descended upon the building, located at 315 93rd Street, on Wednesday evening, February 17 in an effort to collect thousands upon thousands of dollars owed by the business.

Beckmann told this paper that, while the Prince Hotel is still in business, the Sheriff’s office will be seizing any and all of its incoming revenue for the time being.

“We don’t know how long they’ll be stationed there, but they did begin an action yesterday to collect this revenue,” she said.

According to records provided by Beckmann, the hotel accumulated a whopping $400,000 in fines for violations dating back as far as 1995.

Currently, out of the 71 active Department of Buildings (DOB) violations on file for the building, 23 of them are construction and work without permit violations. The property also amassed 60 Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations, 50 of which are Failure to Comply orders – with the most recent violations issued in September of 2015.

Specific violations include several missing Certificates of Occupancy; Work without Permits while installing fire alarms, gas lines and plumbing; failure to maintain building codes for electrical lines and sprinklers; and illegal use as a transient hotel in a residential district.

“There are so many people frustrated by the transient use at this property,” said Beckmann, noting that – last weekend alone – there was a drug arrest, a gun arrest and a fatal overdose on the property. “Residents say it has become a hub for illicit activity, making this something that needs to be addressed.”

Local residents and electeds have already praised the mayor’s swift action.

“This is just phase one but after many years of City Hall looking the other way, the ball is finally in motion thanks to Mayor de Blasio,” said Justin Brannan.

“From this point forward, all revenue will be collected towards their $400,000 in fines. Thank you to the NYC Sheriff’s Office and to Mayor Bill de Blasio for their swift action,” wrote Councilmember Vincent Gentile on Facebook. “This is the first step towards what I hope to be a complete eradication of the site.”

The mayor himself seems to agree.

“I have to take responsibility for [this] and apologize to you and the community,” said de Blasio when asked why the Prince Hotel was still in operation by local resident Doris Cruz at a Tuesday, February 16 town hall meeting held in Bay Ridge. “I find this situation with the Prince Hotel absolutely unacceptable. . . [Enforcement] should have happened already.”


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