Trump SoHo Hotel Condominiums

The Trump SoHo is a luxury hotel condominium venture by Donald Trump, in partnership with the Bayrock Group and Tamir Sapir. The building, located at 246 Spring Street between Varick Street and Sixth Avenue, is the tallest in SoHo — rising 454 feet high or about 43 stories. Buildings nearby are between 2 and 15 stories tall.

The project was first proposed in 2006 as a “condo-hotel,” an arrangement whereby buyers purchase individual units with the intention of using the space occasionally and offering their units as hotel rooms for the rest of the year. The length of stay at the condo-hotel fluctuates depending on the buyer. At the time the Trump SoHo was first proposed, the condo-hotel concept was nascent, especially in New York City.

Permits were issued for site excavation and foundation work in 2006, but it was not until May 2007 that final approval for the structure was given by the Department of Buildings (DOB). In the time period during pre-construction but before final approval, several community groups, including the SoHo Alliance and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), elected officials, residents, and business groups, tried to persuade the City to deny building permits.

Technically, the construction of the building was as-of-right, meaning the development did not require any public review process to be approved. Opponents concerned that the proposed height was out of character for the neighborhood, argued that the building’s height was allowable only because it was being built in an area zoned for manufacturing, which does not allow permanent residences. Community Board 2’s Zoning Committee unanimously rejected the project, as did several preservation groups.

In the end, a deal was negotiated by the Bloomberg Administration that prohibits an owner of any of the hotel’s units to stay for more than 29 consecutive days and 120 total days per year. The agreement was made with the developers, but opponents of the project claim that it will be impossible to enforce the provisions. Efforts by opponents to appeal the permit were unsuccessful. Many elected officials and business owners were concerned that approval of the Trump SoHo will lead to more residential and condo-hotels in manufacturing neighborhoods.

Trump SoHo is designed by Handel Architects. The 399 individual units are designed by Rockwell Group. Amenities in the luxury condo-hotel include an outdoor pool, restaurant and cocktail lounge, library, screening room and event space.

The credit crisis affected the sales and financing of the units. Trump officials tout that more than 50% of the units have been sold, though industry analysts question if these deals have been closed. As of February 2010, $350 million in funding has been secured, shy of the $420 million required. The Trump SoHo opened in April 2010.

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