Crain's NY's recent "Residential Life" issue featured the planned Trump SoHo 'Condo-Hotel" on its cover, citing its provision of "hotel amenities for condo residents and hotel guests". Of course GVSHP and other community groups have claimed from the beginning that Trump's project contained residential uses and therefore should not be permitted by the City, because such uses are illegal under the zoning for the site . Several dozen elected officials, community, business, and civic groups from across the city agreed (see vparchive.gvshp.org/trump.htm#supporters), and now apparently so does Crain's NY. The City, however, has stubbornly clung to its approvals for Trump, and now plans to go to court and use taxpayer money to defend the Trump project and its approvals against a community-initiated lawsuit.
In a recent interview, Trump partner Julius Schwarz of the Bayrock Group admitted that the ONLY reason they were able to develop the Trump SoHo is because of the funding mechanism offered by it being a condo-hotel, and that without it, they would not have been able to move ahead. From the interview:
So why [a condo-hotel, and] not a straight luxury hotel? "It's a financing mechanism," said Schwarz, who added that financing is tough to come by...Hotel rooms will always be in high demand, said Schwarz, "but you can't rely on the $1,200 a night rates. Even with a very high-end luxury hotel like this, where rates are going to stay high, you have to convince a lender. That's the most important thing; otherwise, the deal doesn't get done."(see the full article.)
Various city officials, in refusing to agree with contentions that the Trump project should not be allowed because it in effect violated the zoning, contended, among other things, that the building could just get built as a 'straight' transient hotel anyway, which is allowed by the zoning. But Schwarz's own words show the developers felt they could only finance the project if it was allowed as a condo-hotel.
Those fighting another controversial Trump development plan in the UK have apparently been taking notes -- and taking heart -- from our battle against the Donald here in Lower Manhattan. See the article in this morning's issue of the Guardian