This Controversial Hotelier Wants a ‘Times Square’ Rooftop Bar on Delancey Street and the Neighbors Aren’t Having it

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 at 9:33 am by
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Silent for the most part during its first three years in business, the Holiday Inn on Delancey Street is fast becoming an enemy of the people. It all centers on the changing of the guard, and proposed rooftop venue it’ll birth.

As previously reported, operators Joe Donagher and Eamon Donnelly were initially chosen to run the replacement food and beverage onsite. Their plan, while futile, was to revamp the perpetually-empty Retro Bar & Grill in the basement and create a club atop 150 Delancey Street. However, dozens of protestors made themselves known at the Community Board 3 liquor license hearing in July, wearing green signs bearing messages of opposition (e.g. “I am a resident of 98 Suffolk Street; my building touches the Holiday Inn”). The application was ultimately denied.

Donagher and Donnelly subsequently gave up. So now, the Holiday Inn is instead going with Hank Freid, a notorious hotelier (Sanctuary Hotel) who was once-upon-a-time accused of exploiting HIV/AIDS patients. Per a 2008 report in the Observer, “[Freid is considered a terrible landlord] after contracting with the government to provide housing for homeless persons living with HIV/AIDS at his hotels amid hard economic times, then evicting those tenants to make way for upcale renovations once the economy rebounded.”

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Freid’s proposal has two parts – the contested rooftop bar, dubbed Haven Rooftop, and the basement spot currently occupied by Retro Bar & Grill. Both venues would together attract upwards of 200 people at a time (half that can fit on the roof), with Haven boasting late closing times of midnight Sunday through Tuesday, and 2:00am Wednesday through Saturdays. Obviously of great concern is the close proximity to a dense residential area comprised of families, elderly, and young children.

As you could guess, the opposition is mobilized. Area residents continue to do battle with the 132-key hotel over its application. The LES Dwellers are leading the charge alongside Suffolk Street Block Association, and have stepped up the fight with mailings and a new petition against the operator (approximately 100 signatures). Neighbors are at odds with the so-called “Times Square sensibilites” that Freid would bring to this project.

If you are against the proposed bars, sign the petition and stop by the special Community Board 3 meeting tomorrow night (6pm at 10 Stanton Street).

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Proposed rooftop bar

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