Hot sheets: Controversial developer plans hotel at Greenpoint Terminal Market

Hot sheets: Controversial developer plans hotel at Greenpoint Terminal Market
Photo by Louise Wateridge

A hot-button real estate tycoon plans on turning a derelict Greenpoint warehouse into a nine-story hotel nearly a decade after a mysterious fire ravaged other parts of the complex.

Joshua Guttman’s Pearl Realty will convert a vacant West Street property between Milton and Noble streets — part of the sprawling Greenpoint Terminal Market site that went up in flames in 2006 — into a 155-room hotel with ground-floor retail and a roof-top bar, according to papers filed with the city on Wednesday.

But neighbors, still fuming over the massive inferno and other issues at Guttman’s properties in the years since, say they won’t be checking in any time soon.

“I think it’s horrible that he’s being allowed to develop,” said longtime Greenpointer Laura Hoffman. “Aside from the fact that such a great space was torched, he also has done very little for the community over the years.”

The Greenpoint Terminal Market was a six-block complex housing both industrial businesses and derelict buildings frequented by vandals and squatters that Guttman was planning to tear down when a fire ripped through the property in 2006.

Preservationists were pushing for the entire complex to be granted landmark status at the time, but the property went up in flames before the city could consider it.

Police ultimately arrested and convicted a homeless man for lighting up the building, but many Greenpointers remain wary of Guttman’s record as a landlord and neighbor.

The developer racked up more than $4 million in fines for unrelated building violations on the Terminal Market site, while falling debris prompted the city to temporarily close a neighboring playground in 2011.

And he refused to open fences over Noble Street at West Street that neighbors say robbed them of access to a public stretch of the waterfront for decades.

“He’s a crook,” said Laura Hoffman’s husband Michael, who once worked at a factory inside Greenpoint Terminal Market.

The hotel will be across the road from another recent Guttman project — the Brooklyn Expo Center, which opened on Franklin and Noble streets last year. Many locals aren’t huge fans of that one either, and have accused management of failing to stop visitors parking illegally nearby.

Guttman previously intended to build a hotel at one of his properties in Dumbo — a former illegal loft conversion that was also once gutted by a suspicious blaze — but the city shot that plan down a few years ago, according to city records. He now plans on turning it into offices.

Pearl Realty did not return requests for comment.

News of the hotel was first reported by the Real Deal.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
The Guttman in question: Hot-button real estate tycoon Joshua Guttman wants to open a nine-story hotel on the site of the old Greenpoint Terminal Market.
New York Post / Spencer A. Burnett