The de Blasio Administration is planning to open a new homeless shelter in Manhattan.....just steps from an area of soaring residential high-rise buildings called Billionaires' Row. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report:
The city is converting a former budget hotel on W. 58th St. into a homeless shelter for 150 adult men, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to create 90 shelters in five years. The building is just steps from Central Park South and from One57, a tony tower on 57th St. with a penthouse that sold for $100 million.
The owner of a restaurant just a few doors away says the city should have sought community input before deciding to open a shelter on the block.
"I don't think it's a good idea without giving notice to every business here. This is full of many businesses," said Maria Loi, owner and chef at Loi Estiatorio.
The shelter is the second announced for Manhattan under de Blasio's policy of phasing out expensive temporary hotel rooms and private apartments to house the city's soaring homeless population.
The city says it notified local elected officials of the plan for the former Park Savoy Hotel last week.
"We have the authority to open these facilities where we deem appropriate. We do give the notification. That's an opportunity for community concerns to be raised to address them," de Blasio said.
However, that notification came after word of the city's plan had begun to spread in the community.
Keith Powers, the local councilman, says City Hall needs to listen carefully to what residents have to say.
"We expect a public hearing, and we expect the community to have more input on what happens in their neighborhood," Powers said.
Built in 1942, the Park Savoy was an apartment house before it became a low-cost hotel. One review said a night's stay was "a harmless way to save a buck." The hotel closed late last year; the buildingis now vacant.
Some living nearby say they are OK with the shelter plan.
"The city needs to have places for homeless people," said one person in the area. "I don't know if this is the right place, but I wouldn't, I wouldn't object to it."
"They live here at night and they live here during the day, so why not have a bed and some people to care for them?" said another.
The city says it will hold a meeting with the community, but it likely won't change the administration's mind.
The city has not set an exact date for when the shelter will open, but it is expected to happen sometimes this winter.