Councilman Jumaane Williams flat out lied when he claimed a new building slated for Foster Avenue was going to be a hot-sheet hotel, said the Long Island developer overseeing the project, who claims that he has no intention of renting rooms by the hour.
Danny Mehta, who co-owns the hotel with Viral Patel, said the business he plans to build near E. 59th Street will not cater to lovers looking for a quick getaway — or hookers looking for a place to work.
“It’s not going to be an hourly rate,” said Mehta. “It’s going to be a nice, clean hotel. Why would we put all this money into a business to host drug dealers and prostitutes?”
But Councilman Williams (D–Flatbush) doesn’t believe Mehta.
The legislator’s letter-writing campaigns to Borough President Markowitz and Mayor Bloomberg protesting the hotel are continuing. He’s also held a handful of emergency meetings to discuss how to attack the project before a shovel goes into the ground.
Despite Mehta’s assurances, Williams vows to continue to fight the hotel, which meets city zoning requirements and doesn’t need any special permits or approvals to be built.
“This is going to be a long battle,” Williams said. “We have to let [the developers] know that public pressure will be maintained even after the hotel is up, and let them know we’ll make if difficult for the people that want to work in that hotel and for the people who want to stay at that hotel.”
But Williams has provided very little evidence to back up his vitriol against the hotel — other than the fact that the three-story, 39-unit facility is in a residential community and won’t be run by a major hotel chain.
Mehta said he and his partner have followed all the rules. Objections to the hotel began pouring in only after they committed to the project, he said.
“I don’t understand why they would try to stop me,” Mehta said. “If I did something wrong, then I would understand. I spent the money for the architect to get the permit, and nobody was complaining then. Now it’s too late, if they don’t want a hotel they’ll have to buy me out.”
The issue of legality is not lost on Williams.
“The people building this hotel are doing everything legally,” Williams told Community Board 18 last week. “So we have to keep an eye on what they’re doing and see if they slip up.”
Reach reporter Colin MIxson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-4514.