Trump SoHo To Go Legal?
Several months ago, the Trump SoHo Condo Hotel went into foreclosure as a result of poor sales of the "condo-hotel" units. Now it's being reported that the new owner is looking to market the remaining units as hotel rooms, rather than the legally-questionable "condo-hotel" units.
The poor sales of the units and the new focus by the new owner are widely reported to be the results of long-standing efforts by GVSHP and others to prevent violations of the zoning and illegal uses at the Trump SoHo. From the beginning, GVSHP opposed the construction of the outrageous tower, citing the "condo-hotel" arrangement as an inherent violation of the area's zoning prohibitions on new residential or residential-hotel development. While the City and many local elected officials at the time would not do as we urged and oppose permits for the construction of the building based upon this blatant zoning violation, our objections did lead directly to limitations attached to the development proscribing how long owners could stay in their units. GVSHP has consistently held the City's feet to the fire to call for these provisions to be enforced. Apparently these restrictions have helped lead to the poor sales of "condo-hotel" units at the Trump SoHo, and would seem to indicate that the original developers expected no such restrictions when planning this project.
The new emphasis by the new owner on traditional hotel uses far from solves all problems with the Trump SoHo. While the restrictions on paper against long-term residential use and the considerable publicity around our efforts to ensure such zoning violations were not ignored may have had a chilling effect on sales, a fraction of the development remains a "condo-hotel." Such units are ripe for abuse and potential lax enforcement by the City. Most importantly, this development should never have been allowed to be built in the first place, given its legally questionable (at best) status. That said, the failure to sell these "condo-hotel" units with these restrictions attached sends a strong message that attempts to get around zoning restrictions do have consequences, and will hopefully help prevent further such abuses in the future. GVSHP will continue to closely monitor the Trump SoHo and the city’s enforcement of the zoning restrictions in relation to it, and work to ensure that illegal uses are not allowed here.