On December 6, 2006, the Trump SoHo ‘Condo-Hotel’ was caught advertising its planned units to prospective buyers as a “Primary Residence” or “Secondary Residence.” GVSHP found the advertisements and immediately fired off a letter demanding yet again that construction of the building not be allowed, as the zoning for the area prohibited residential uses. Unfortunately, the city did not listen to us and our allies — then or many times since — and the Trump SoHo was allowed to be built in violation of zoning regulations. Local elected officials like then-Borough President Scott Stringer and then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn both stood by the City’s decision to allow the monstrosity to be built.
Trump Lies and Violates Zoning:
GVSHP became aware that day that the website for Donald Trump’s planned 45-story condo-hotel at Spring and Varick Streets had been soliciting prospective buyers by asking if they plan to use their condo unit as a “primary residence,” a “secondary residence,” or an ‘investment property.” Problem was, residences are explicitly prohibited under the zoning for this site, and as GVSHP and countless opponents of this project stated to the City, this condo-hotel would violate the zoning and therefore should not be permitted.
GVSHP sent a letter to the City that very day regarding this “smoking gun” showing Trump’s true intentions with this development, and again calling upon the City NOT to allow this project to move forward (CLICK HERE for letter).
Trump’s web advertisement clearly showed what we and so many others had been contending all along – that a condo-hotel inherently violated the zoning for this district. This neighborhood’s manufacturing zoning, like the zoning for many areas of New York (CLICK HERE for zoning map), prohibits development of “residences” and “residential hotels,” though it does allow “transient hotels.” Transient hotels are defined as, and are generally understood to be, hotels where units are “rented on a daily basis” and used “primarily for transient occupancy.”
The City was at that time negotiating a “restrictive declaration” with Trump in order to “ensure” that his condo-hotel would conform to these zoning restrictions. But the agreement the City was discussing with Trump would allow owners to live in their units for as much as 100-150 days per year, which we have always contended was a ‘secondary residence,’ not a transient hotel. Trump’s webpage would seem to indicate that he thinks so too.
For more information on 2006’s Trump’s “smoking gun” webpage, CLICK HERE.
There are too many issues with the Trump SoHo and the city’s record on it to enumerate here. But GVSHP has had to fight the City every step of the way to even get it to enforce the meager restrictive declaration it placed on use of the development — more on that HERE.
The outcome? Trump Soho was compelled to pay $460,781.73 in fines to the public coffers, as shown in the checks above.
GVSHP continues to monitor this agreement even though the Trump organization sold its management and licensing agreement for the property in 2016.