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Sprucing Up Literary Landmark Filled With Cantankerous Old Artsy Types Not As Easy As It Looks

A bunch of hedge fund managers have learned this the hard way.
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Turning the Hotel Chelsea into the Ace isn’t exactly the slam dunk that real-estate kingpin Bill Ackman and Co. initially expected. And like that other no-doubt sure-thing, Herbalife’s demise, it’s going to take a lot more time and money to bear fruit than he hoped.

The redevelopment of the iconic property on Manhattan’s West 23rd Street is running at least a year behind schedule, is over budget and has been the source of disagreements between its owners over how to position the hotel and how much to spend on upgrades…The hotel, closed since 2011, isn’t expected to open before 2017, while the owners spend millions of dollars a month on renovations, interest payments and other costs, these people said. The cash drain has prompted the owners to hire broker Eastdil Secured to help refinance their debt, borrow more money and bring in another equity partner, these people said…Another complication peculiar to the Hotel Chelsea: its strong-willed tenants, many of whom live in rent-stabilized apartments going for much less than the prevailing market rate and have resisted earlier efforts to modernize.

Hotel Chelsea, Storied Haunt of Dylan and Burroughs, Becomes Wall Street Money Pit [WSJ]



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