Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Tue April 21 2015

NYC Bill Aims to Curb Hotel Conversion

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | April 21, 2015

NYC Bill Aims to Curb Hotel Conversion

In an effort to limit hotel owners' ability to convert rooms into apartments and prevent the potential loss of work for hotel employees, the New York Hotel Trades Council and City Councilman Corey Johnson are looking for approval on a controversial bill.

According to Amber Jamieson of the New York Post, if eventually passed, the proposal would require any hotel with more than 150 rooms to prove financial need to a "Hotel Conversion Review Board" in order to convert more than 20 percent of its rooms into apartments or condos for long-term residents.

In Johnson's opinion, the bill "seeks to preserve good middle-class jobs in the hotel industry" by protecting union jobs. Nonetheless, others consider it overbearing. While the proposal has the full support of the councilman and the hotel-workers union, it's been met with stiff opposition from others. 

Partnership for New York City president and CEO Kathryn Wylde called the bill an "unprecedented intrusion in the private market."

"I don’t know of anything, anywhere, that is quite like this," added Wylde via Jamieson.

The Hotel Association of New York City is also opposed to the proposed measure, citing a negative impact on property values and the incentive to build new properties. 

The polarizing bill was originally introduced this past December, and the expectation is that it will pass through the Housing and Buildings Committee easily thanks to a tremendous amount of support, which includes nearly three dozen sponsors as of April 1. 

If approved by the committee, the bill would then head to a City Council vote.

It remains to be seen how whether the bill will come to fruition, however the debate is certain to rage on in the meantime. 

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