City can open a homeless shelter on Billionaires’ Row, judge rules

April 30, 2019

A judge on Monday approved the city’s plan to open a homeless shelter near Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row neighborhood. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Alexander Tisch dismissed the lawsuit from the West 58th Street Coalition, a group of residents who claimed the shelter would have “an enormous impact on our densely populated, narrow, high-pedestrian-traffic street.” The ruling comes more than a year after Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced plans to open a shelter for 140 single men at the converted Park Savoy hotel, located next to One57, a supertall with a penthouse that sold for $100 million in 2015.

When the mayor announced his plan last January to open a shelter for men at the former hotel, backlash from local residents was immediate, who cited safety concerns and a lack of environmental review. The lawsuit, filed by the West 58th Street Coalition last July, said the shelter would pose a “threat to the health, welfare, and safety of the public and future residents of this shelter.”

And in a petition, the West 58th Street Coalition wrote that instead of the city paying $50,000 per person to stay at the Park Savoy, “a homeless man could have his own apartment, living in the neighborhood where he came from.”

In his ruling, Tisch leaves it to the city to decide whether the building meets safety standards and expresses concern with a single exit and the width of the stairwell. “These are all aspects for which the City and its agencies are supposed to be given deference,” Tisch wrote.

The shelter, which was originally estimated to cost just more than $60 million and open last summer, falls under the mayor’s “Turning the Tide on Homelessness” plan. The initiative aims to reduce the number of cluster sites and commercial hotel facilities and replace them with 90 new shelters and 30 expanded existing sites. According to THE CITY, 43 out of the 90 new sites have been chosen with 23 open and operating.



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