Not a ‘big trendy hotel,’ a‘quiet and elegant’ boutique hotel
By Linda Collins
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The reconversion of the Bossert Hotel on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights back to commercial hotel use was approved by the Community Board (CB) 2 Land Use Committee on Wednesday night at NYU-Poly in MetroTech.
Following a lengthy public hearing, during which close to a dozen residents of nearby apartment buildings urged a delay on making a decision, the committee voted to recommend approval of the variance application filed with the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) by the hotel’s new owner.
With a summer break fast approaching for the community board, the final vote will probably be taken on Monday by the CB 2 Executive Committee, according to Rob Perris, district manager.
As the Eagle has reported, David Bistricer, principal of Clipper Equity (now operating as Bossert LLC), is purchasing the property from the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (aka Jehovah’s Witnesses).
The restored and immaculately maintained hotel has been in use as a community facility by the Watchtower to house visitors to the organization’s headquarters in the Heights.
The closing is expected to take place in October, according to Michael Sillerman, an attorney with Kramer Levin and a spokesperson for Bistricer, who made the presentation before the Land Use Committee. If all goes well with the closing and BSA application, it should take about a year for work to be completed, he said, adding that a late 2013 opening is anticipated, he said.
Sillerman introduced two representatives of King & Grove Hotels, an affiliate of Bossert LLC, who will manage the 302-room Bossert’s operations, including a new lobby restaurant at street level on the Montague Street side and a rooftop terrace lounge on the 14th floor.
“Please focus on the fact that it will not be a Sheraton or a Hilton or a Marriott, it will not be a big trendy hotel,” said Jeff Klein, who went on to describe the future hotel as “an elegant and quiet and subtle” boutique hotel.
Atif Youssef, also of King & Grove, noted that there will always be two employees working in front of the hotel as well as one from Quik Park, a firm they will contract with for parking guest cars.
Support for the hotel and BSA application at Wednesday’s meeting came from the Montague Street BID, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Borough President Marty Markowitz — whose statement said the hotel would be an asset to the commercial corridor and an anchor for its western end — and from Glen Markman, who owns two buildings on Montague as well as two restaurants, Heights Cafe and the soon-to-open Delrocco.
He said he was “excited” about the proposed hotel, called it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and an “important game changer for every business on the street.”
The nearby residents who came to speak, including a group of six from 200 Hicks St., expressed their concerns about the potential noise from the rooftop bar — particularly since it is located in a residential neighborhood — and the amount of traffic anticipated both in front of the hotel and at the already gridlocked Montague and Hicks Street intersection.
They were not asking committee members to vote against the proposal but to delay their vote.
“We ask for time to work with the developer on controls to make their vision concrete,” said one resident, adding, “If their vision happens we’re okay with it.”
Said another, “To rush this project without thoroughly understanding the longterm ramifications would be imprudent.”
Another simply asked for “responsible development” and complained that a 300-room hotel “is not a boutique hotel.”
Attempts by the Eagle to reach one of the residents of 200 Hicks St. following the meeting to see if any further action would be attempted were unsuccessful.
Reached following the meeting, Kathleen Cudahy, a Bossert LLC spokesperson, said “We are very grateful for the consideration of our project by the Land Use Committee and we look forward to the Executive Committee’s consideration on Monday.
“We also look forward to working with the residential and commercial communities in the Heights.”
According to Cudahy, following the anticipated approval on Monday, the next steps for the developer will be the BSA approval, consideration by the Landmarks Preservation Commission of the rooftop mechanicals and, eventually, approval by CB 2 of liquor licenses for the restaurant and rooftop lounge.