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The city hacked away at a developer’s plan to build a hotel near the Williamsburg waterfront on Wednesday, rejecting a proposal for an eight-story inn on North 11th Street.
The Department of Buildings rejected David Walentas’s $3.6-million project, which called for the conversion of an industrial building at Wythe Avenue that would have more than doubled the brick building’s height.
It was not immediately clear why the DOB nixed the proposed hotel late on Wednesday afternoon.
“Generally speaking, plans are disapproved for non-compliance with buildings and zonings regulations,” said an agency spokeswoman.
The site of the proposed hotel — across the street from the popular tourist site, the Brooklyn Brewery — is zoned for manufacturing. Hotel developers do not need to get a city rezoning to build lodging, which is why so many hotels are under construction or already operating in the Gowanus Canal zone.
But height restrictions and other zoning rules apply.
Walentas’s Two Trees Management and the hotel’s architect Morris Adjmi refused to comment about what kind of hotel had been planned for the lot.
Before the surprise rejection, news of a hotel caused more confusion than shock.
“They keep putting up all these high-rises and big buildings, and now a hotel?” asked Steve Ehlesman, owner of the Turkey’s Nest, a Bedford Avenue watering hole. “Who wants to spend $500 a night be on North 11th Street?”
Plenty of people, says Todd Cahill, spokesman for Williamsburg’s first boutique inn, Hotel Le Jolie.
Since Hotel Le Jolie opened beside the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in November, business at the 54-room inn has been booming, filling an average of 85 percent of its rooms — which start at about $329 — each night.
“Williamsburg is becoming a trendy kind of a place where boutique hotels thrive,” Cahill said. “It’s a very niche market here that’s great for boutiques, but not so much so for the branded hotels like a Hilton or a Marriott.”
Whether or not there is demand, some Williamsburgers don’t think that hotels are the best use of space in the neighborhood’s dwindling manufacturing district.
“I don’t see the need for it there,” said Community Board 1 member Evan Thies. “I’m just not sure that a mainly residential and industry-based community is the place for a hotel.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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