Bay Ridge

Sheriffs raid Prince Hotel after de Blasio vows action

February 18, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sheriffs complete their raid of the Prince Hotel Wednesday night, making good on a promise Mayor Bill de Blasio made to Bay Ridge residents to crack down on the alleged flophouse. Photo by Valerie Hodgson
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One night after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised hundreds of residents at a Bay Ridge town hall meeting that he would crack down on the notorious Prince Hotel, sheriffs raided the place, officials said.

Dozens of deputies from the Brooklyn Sheriff’s Office descended on the Prince Hotel at 315 93rd St. Wednesday night, according to Bay Ridge officials who said they were called in to enforce outstanding violations that the building owner had been hit with and never paid.

“The building has over $400,000 in outstanding judgments resulting from this property owner who has failed to satisfy violations from 1995 to the present,” Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday morning.

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The violations run the gamut from illegally operating a transient hotel to failure to install an adequate number of sprinklers. There are 71 outstanding building code violations on record against the Prince Hotel, according to Beckmann

The Prince Hotel has long been a target of complaints from 93rd Street residents and people living on nearby blocks who charged that the place is a flophouse and that drug use and prostitution are frequent occurrences there.

Concerns over the Prince Hotel went into overdrive when it was revealed that the School Construction Authority plans to build a pre-K center down the block from the hotel. The pre-K center, to be built at 369 93rd St., will accommodate 144 children and is scheduled to open in September of 2017.

There are a few long-term Prince Hotel tenants who are law abiding, but who are residing in “unsafe, substandard conditions,” Beckmann said, adding that the building contains illegally subdivided rooms and that plumbing and electrical work has been done on the premises without permits.

“This building in not in compliance with many safety codes,” she told the Eagle.

The hotel wasn’t shut down as a result of Wednesday’s raid, but the raid means that the owner, who is listed as Bay Ridge Prince LLC on Department of Finance records, will now have to satisfy the violations, officials said.

And law enforcement officials will be keeping a closer eye on the place.

The Prince Hotel came up at a “Working for our Neighborhoods” town hall the mayor held at Fort Hamilton High School on Tuesday night.

Community Board 10 Vice Chairman Doris Cruz stood up at the town hall and implored de Blasio to take action, telling the mayor that residents and civic leaders have complained about the situation to officials for years and that “nothing has been done.”

The mayor promised that he would do something.

“I find the situation with the Prince Hotel unacceptable. I’m not going to stand for it. There will be enforcement at the Prince Hotel,” de Blasio said.

Residents of 93rd Street expressed relief at the action taken on Wednesday.

One young woman, who asked that her name not be printed, said she hoped the raid would mean that the hotel’s “drug and prostitution problem” would end and that officials will now “get rid of the crack heads.”

Cruz said she was pleased when she learned of the raid. “I’m very happy that the Mayor’s Office took immediate action. It shows his commitment to solving the problem,” she told the Eagle.

“I’m so happy!” Beckmann said, reacting to the raid. “The sheriff is a civil enforcement mechanism, not a criminal one. But the fact that the owner will now be forced to financially satisfy the outstanding violations is a step in the right direction.”


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