[Hpn] New York, NY - 335-room Best Western Carlton House "Homeless Hotel" to Open This Week - NewsDay.com. - July 2, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Fri, 05 Jul 2002 04:45:20 -0500


Airport Hotel to House Homeless
335-room Best Western Carlton House "Homeless Hotel" to Open This Week by
Salvation Army

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By Alan J. Wax - New York  NewsDay.com. - July 2, 2002

A Manhattan federal bankruptcy judge authorized the owners of a shuttered hotel
at Kennedy Airport to use the property as shelter for homeless families - at
least until Sept. 30.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper on Friday approved the proposal by the
owners of the 335-room Best Western Carlton House hotel after lawyers for
Manhattan real estate investors Eric and Richard Hadar withdrew an objection to
the proposal.

Under the plan, the hotel will be leased to the Salvation Army, which would
operate the property as a Tier II shelter. In a Tier II shelter, 10 or more
families are provided with temporary shelter while they seek permanent housing.
Families also have access to three daily meals and a variety of social service
and education programs.

According to court papers, the Salvation Army will loan $2 million to the
hotel's owner, Bellmore-based JFK Acquisition Corp., to fund start-up costs of
the shelter. The shelter is expected to open today or tomorrow, said Scott
Markowitz, a lawyer for the owner, adding that plans to extend the lease beyond
Sept. 30 are being developed.

"The city has a need to house these people," Markowitz said, noting that on June
17, City Comptroller William Thompson issued a 90-day-emergency letter citing
fast-growing numbers of homeless families across the city and a shortage of
shelter.

Gropper's ruling followed two hearings last week.

A coalition of southeast Queens elected officials and community groups, have
labeled the plan "racist" and blasted the Bloomberg administration for
proceeding despite staunch community opposition. Yesterday, City Councilman
Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) was joined by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), Queens
Borough President Helen Marshall and others in protesting the project at City
Hall. "This is our Fifth Avenue where you have a hotel strip near Kennedy
Airport," said Comrie. "We are not against the homeless but we have already
taken in our fair share of shelters."

Yesterday, Gropper also ordered that revenues generated by the shelter's lease
become the collateral of JFK Holding Co., a Hadar-owned company that last year
acquired an $18-million mortgage secured by the property at 138-10 N. Conduit
Blvd.

JFK Acquisition, a partnership, filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors
on Dec. 10, citing declining revenues in the face of a downturn in air travel, a
glut of new hotel rooms near the airport and difficulties reaching a new labor
agreement with unionized employees.


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Staff writer Curtis L. Taylor contributed to this report.
Copyright  2002, Newsday, Inc.
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