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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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Resistance to Homeless Shelter on Billionaires' Row Proves Futile

Midtown, Manhattan

Homeless shelter, Billionaires' Row, West. 58th St. Coalition, co-op and condo activists.

The former Park Savoy on Billionaires' Row still looks like a hotel, but it's now an 80-bed homeless shelter.

Nov. 12, 2021

It still looks like a hotel, right down to the signage, but don't be fooled. The former Park Savoy Hotel at 158 W. 58th St., is now an 80-bed homeless shelter in the heart of Billionaires' Row, Crain's reports. The shelter has opened after a three-year legal resistance by the West. 58th St. Coalition, a group of neighborhood activists that included many co-op and condo residents. The group spent nearly $300,000 to keep the shelter from opening, claiming in lawsuits that the building was too old and too dangerous to safely accommodate 80 residents. 

The shelter is adjacent to the back entrance of JDS Development’s One57 and down the street from Vornado’s billion-dollar condo development at 220 Central Park South, where the penthouse apartment sold for $240 million, the highest price ever paid for a home in American history.  

The homeless shelter’s signage as the former Park Savoy Hotel remains on the facade, although the people walking in and out of the property are no longer travelers paying more than $100 per night for a room.

The city submitted plans for the shelter, which was originally going to support 140 men, in 2017. Plans have since been scaled back to 80 men by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. A handful were moved in last week, and more will gradually join until the building is at capacity. The city has promised that the building will have 24/7 security and a 10 p.m. curfew for residents. 

The move comes on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio's removal of homeless New Yorkers from other vacant hotels temporarily being used as shelters during the pandemic. Several Upper West Side residents put up bitter resistance to homeless men being moved into local hotels there, namely, the Lucerne and the Belleclaire.

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