Ira Drukier, one of the owners, said the facade work has been completed, although he said the scaffolding and construction bridge over the sidewalk would remain in place until a city inspection is carried out. He said the renovation of the interior would be “presumably 100 percent complete” by the summer.
The Chelsea now has 155 hotel rooms, plus about 45 long-term tenant apartments that have endured seemingly endless construction – and about two years when work was halted.
The renovation included the installation of new doors to the rooms to comply with city fire regulations. The old doors, salvaged by a former resident, were auctioned four years ago. And El Quijote, the first-floor Spanish restaurant that closed in 2018, has reopened. Pete Wells, our restaurant critic, wrote last month that “the city’s antiquarian-bohemian axis feared it would be destroyed or at least cleared beyond recognition.”
“Most of those concerns can be forgotten,” he said, and as for the food, “the old recipes have been retired, as they should have been.”
Upstairs, the chairman of the tenants’ association is happy, but the friction remains. The tenants’ association represents about 40 former residents. Drukier and Zoe Pappas, the president, say they are at odds with several others, and there is a jumble of charges and counter-charges, lawsuits and administrative proceedings.
Leon Behar, a tenant lawyer who is at odds with the owners, said last week that people in the building are “still running low on hot water/no hot water (running the water for 30 minutes or more before showering). .” called that “not true” and said tenants who claimed it “wouldn’t let us in” to fix problems.
Debbie Martin, another longtime tenant who said last year conditions had worsened since construction resumed, reported last week that noise has “decreased somewhat on my floor” lately. Still, she added by email that “my windows are blocked by planks, steel pipes and nets, and basic amenities are still not reliable.”