Bay Ridge hotel plans roil Golden
UPDATED | A proposed six-story hotel across the street from a Bay Ridge public school would quickly be turned into a haven for the homeless, activists claim.
State Sen. Martin Golden (R-Bay Ridge) said the proposed 63-room hotel is too small to attract a reputable operator, and implied that it would quickly devolve into housing residents for the city.
“Does anybody think that Hilton is coming here?” Golden asked. “Give me a break.”
At a press conference at the site, Golden and Bay Ridge Community Council President Ralph Succar called for the developer, Ankit Mehta, to guarantee that the hotel won’t be used to house the homeless. Golden claimed that the developer has not responded to his requests for information.
The site at 9115 Fifth Avenue is currently a vacant lot across from P.S./I.S. 104. It is zoned for commercial use, and a hotel would not need a zoning change. The Department of Buildings said papers have been filed by architect Shiming Tam of S M Tam Architects for the construction of a six-story hotel, but an agency spokesperson said the plans were being reviewed before issuing construction permits.
Mehta could not be reached for comment. He previously told the Brooklyn Eagle that he has a personal connection to Bay Ridge and promised that the community could take pride in whatever he ends up building.
Locals are calling for an annex or additional classroom space for the overcrowded school.
Succar added that he could accept housing on the site, though any residential project would require a zoning change.
“A hotel is not quality living,” he said. “We need low-income housing. I would accept that.”
City Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge) said opponents of the hotel are using the specter of homeless to stoke fears in the neighborhood.
“Virtually nobody wants a hotel across from P.S. 104. It’s really not an ideal location,” Brannan told the Eagle, not referring to Golden by name. “That said, I am dismayed that some have turned this into an opportunity to stoke fears and demonize the most vulnerable in our society.”
Brannan did agree that Bay Ridge needs more classroom space to alleviate overcrowded schools.
“When land like this becomes available, I will continue to advocate for more classrooms and more affordable housing, especially for our seniors,” he said.
Story was updated on May 2 to reflect a wider array of community voices.
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