New York City's Chelsea Hotel going condo may cause as much of an uproar in the arts community as the closing of CBGBs did in the punk community. But at this point, the legendary literary landmark and residential hotel seems destined for a decidedly staid future.
In a recent New York Post article, several possible buyers were listed for the 222 West 23rd Street property, with David Edelstein of Tristar Capital as the front runner. Edelstein has been quite vocal in interviews that if he indeed becomes the owner of the 250-room hotel, which opened in 1883, it will certainly not be run the way it once was.
In the past, the Chelsea was home to musicians, writers and artists, including Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Robert Mapplethorpe, Leonard Cohen, Virgil Thomson, Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Allen Ginsberg and Larry Rivers, among many others. Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey in the hotel. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road there. Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols allegedly stabbed to death his girlfriend Nancy Spungen in one of the rooms.
The hotel no longer accepts long-term residents; the longest guests are allowed to stay these days is 24 nights.
New York firm Corcoran Real Estate Group knows the Manhattan area well and of course is aware of the Chelsea sale. John Felicetti of Corcoran's new development arm Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group told AOL Real Estate, "There is incredible development potential at this site." That's all he would divulge about this sale which is the talk of the town that never sleeps.
With an estimated $100 million asking price, whatever is done to the landmark building, it is sure to lose some of its charm. Paul Brounstein, one of the building's shareholders, was very frank when he said the Chelsea needed some new ideas and fresh blood to keep up the area.
At 12 stories, some of the Chelsea's most recognizable design elements are the red brick exterior, namesake sign and famous staircase. With the same owners the last 65 years, lots of folks have come forward and made offers since the building was put up for sale.
With the condo conversion will likely come upscale prices, no doubt erasing the bohemian feel the Chelsea once had.