City seeks closure of controversial Prince Hotel

February 23, 2016 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Authorities are one step closer to shuttering the Prince Hotel for good, say officials.

It was announced on Monday, February 22 that, within days of the arrival of city sheriffs at the site – located at 315 93rd Street – the Department of Finance was already making moves to sell the building, whose owner owes approximately $400,000 in fines to the city.

“The Department of Finance, as we speak, is preparing appropriate writs of execution commanding the sheriff to sell the building to settle the outstanding debt owed to the city,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile at Community Board 10’s February full board meeting. “That is the ultimate step, obviously, to close the Prince Hotel.”

In addition, Gentile said, $7,000 in unpaid fines has already been collected.

“There is a significant amount of debt owed to the city,” said the local pol. “The sheriffs are there, and they continue to be there, even now.”

The Prince Hotel – an alleged hotbed of drugs, prostitution and violence in the neighborhood – was first descended upon by the sheriff’s office on Wednesday, February 17, less than 24 hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised “aggressive enforcement” on the problem site at a Bay Ridge town hall meeting.

According to records provided by Community Board 10, the violations for which the hotel has been fined date 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 has 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; violations for Work without a Permit 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.

The sheriff’s sale process, officials said, can take anywhere from four to five months.

“We’re going to continue with that process,” said Gentile, hopeful that, at the end of it all, there will be good news for frustrated neighborhood residents.

Until then, the hotspot remains open – but with uniformed guards attending the front desk and collecting payments.

“Obviously the hotel is open but there are sheriffs at the front desk so it’s a little bit intimidating, right?” said Gentile. “And, at least in that regard, it helps us with the types of problems we’ve been having there – in terms of the drugs, in terms of the punks, in terms of late night stuff; If we have sheriffs there around the clock, that tends to be a little bit more controlled.”

Community Board 10 Chair Brian Kieran agreed.

“It is our expectation that the sheriffs will serve as a deterrent when it comes to any sort of illegal acts that might go on there,” he said, cautiously optimistic that this swift action from the mayor’s office “could actually be an avenue to a final resolution.”

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