Bossert debacle: No opening in sight for beloved Heights hotel

Bossert debacle: No opening in sight for beloved Heights hotel
Checking inn?: The Bossert Hotel’s awning has seen better days.
Community News Group / Julianne Cuba

The fate of the still-shuttered Bossert Hotel remains a mystery to locals as another promised opening date will likely come and go this month.

The developers restoring the luxe Montague Street inn, once owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses before firm Clipper Equity and real-estate tycoon Joseph Chetrit scooped it up in 2012, set this summer as the new grand-opening date that neighbors have been waiting nearly five years for.

But it still doesn’t look like anyone will be checking in anytime soon, according to the leader of a local commerce-advocacy group.

“I’m sure that’s not going to happen,” said Kate Chura, the head of the Montague Street Business Improvement District. “I don’t know what’s going on and I’ve tried really hard to find out.”

The vacant suites — except for two longtime rent-stabilized units occupied by oldster tenants — are now just a waste of space in the neighborhood whose shops and restaurants would benefit from an influx of guests, said Chura.

“We would love for the Bossert to be functioning again, it would be a great help for all the merchants,” she said.

A rep for the developers told this newspaper back in March that they were still in talks to secure a new operator after Hotelier Fën Hotels — which runs the Dazzler Brooklyn in America’s Downtown — packed its bags.

But Clipper Equity’s David Bistricer — who with Chetrit plans to modernize the rooms and restore the inn’s grand ballrooms, ornate lobby, and rooftop restaurant to their former glory — has not responded to multiple requests for comment since May about whether he has tapped a new firm to run the lodge.

The hotel’s property manager, Stephen Allen, declined to comment on the delay or status of a new operator, but another local leader believes the developers have been bickering — likely about money — and it’s causing the holdup.

“The partners are in a fight, that’s why it’s not done,” said the gadfly, who asked to remain anonymous and called the hotel an “eyesore.”

The real-estate bigwigs this June renewed their original 2014 permits with the city’s Department of Buildings to convert the 14-story structure — which sits within the Landmarks Preservation Commission–protected Brooklyn Heights Historic District — into a 280-room hotel, and renewed their permit for a temporary certificate of occupancy in July, according to an agency spokesman.

But besides a clandestine rooftop party reported at the hotel near Hicks Street last month, passersby have not seen any work going on inside, and said the owners have been even less receptive to smaller asks from neighborhood, such as a request to fix up the building’s tattered awning, according to Chura and the president of civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association.

“It’s a mystery. It’s hard to understand what’s behind this incredibly long delay,” said Peter Bray.

Another local said he isn’t holding his breath for the long-awaited reopening, and that he also doesn’t understand why it’s taking so long.

“If you look back, stories said it’s going to open in 2014, 2015, 2016,” said Andrew Porter. “Think of all the money they’re losing. It’s incredible.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Check it out: But one of the grand ballrooms still looks fantastic.
Community News Group / Julianne Cuba

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