Volume 20, Number 52 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MAY 9 - 15, 2008
B.S.A. backs Trump Soho, setting stage for lawsuit
By Albert Amateau
The Board of Standards and Appeals on Tuesday unanimously voted to dismiss the Soho Alliance’s petition to revoke the Department of Buildings’ construction permit for the trouble-plagued Trump Soho condominium hotel.
However, the alliance’s lawyer, Stu Klein, said he would file an Article 78 lawsuit against the dismissal within two weeks after the B.S.A. issues its written decision. Article 78 lawsuits can be filed against city agencies for arbitrary and unlawful rulings.
The Soho Alliance charges that the Buildings Department was wrong when it issued the permit last year for the 42-story building at Spring and Varick Sts. on the grounds that the purported condo-hotel is really a residential building and not permitted in the manufacturing zone.
The building, where construction was halted in mid-January after a construction worker was killed at the site, was granted a permit after Trump and his development partners signed a restrictive declaration with the city limiting the length of stays in the building. Klein told the B.S.A. hearing in March that D.O.B. had violated the zoning by issuing the permit because the building was being built as a primary residence and not a hotel.
The city argued that the building was indeed a hotel — which is legal in the manufacturing district — and the B.S.A. apparently agreed in its April 6 ruling. Construction on the building is almost at a standstill since the fatal accident. The Trump Soho is just a few stories shy of its planned height and work is being done on the interior and its lower half only.
Sean Sweeney, president of the Soho Alliance, quipped, “We want to take Trump’s erection down a bit,” but he acknowledged that it was unlikely that the building would be taken down to the ground. “The action is really a pre-emptive strike against any other developer who thinks he can violate the zoning rules in Soho,” Sweeney said.