A building once meant to house Brooklyn’s “hippest” hotel has since been converted into an emergency shelter, The Post has learned.
The city awarded a more than $7 million contract to a non-profit organization to run a “city sanctuary facility for homeless families with children” at 535 Van Buren Street — the same address as Artel 535, which touted itself as “Brooklyn’s Hippest Hotel” online.
But it doesn’t appear the planned hipster haven ever opened, and the building — on the border of Bed-Stuyvesant and Bushwick — is now serving as a shelter for migrants, run by the Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs under a $7,659,662 contract.
A 25-year-old man from Venezuela, who was walking outside the building Sunday, said his brother has been staying at the shelter after arriving in the US from Venezuela five months ago.
“We really want help to find work,” the man, who gave his name as Jesus, said.
More than 60,000 migrants have arrived in the Big Apple since spring 2022, with more than 37,000 housed in city-run or city-funded shelters and facilities, according to city officials.
So far, the city has opened 122 emergency shelters and eight large humanitarian relief centers to handle the influx, with the plan to send new migrants to Rockland and Orange counties because the Big Apple is running out of space.
Much of the city’s hotel space — with the exception of the most touristy spots in Manhattan — is being reserved for migrants.
The planned Artel 535 hotel has a website but it’s email address is no longer operable and no one answered the listed phone number.
The website shows photos of the rooms with colorful modern paintings adorning the walls.
“Our team will strive to exceed your expectations in a gracious and professional manner,” the home page states. “Walking distance to NYC subway system. The hotel is located near major NYC’s attractions. The Barclays Center Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO Terminal and South Street Seaport. Chelsea Piers and Central Park Zoo are a short train ride away.”
One neighbor said Artel 535 never opened or operated as a hotel — and all of a sudden it became a shelter.
“It never did [open]. It shut down during COVID,” the woman, who requested anonymity, said Sunday.
The neighbor said it didn’t make sense to put a hotel there because there’s already a Holiday Inn nearby.
“I was like, ‘why are they putting two hotels next to each other?’” she said.
“And then all of the sudden it opened. But like there’s an ambulance that ends up there like every single night. And I’m always like what’s going on in there?” she added, describing the building as “super weird” and “super sketchy.”
The neighbor said there is a concentration of public housing on the block now.
“It’s a trifecta. Halfway house, Section 8 [federally subsidized housing] and then the shelter,” she quipped.
The city Department of Social Services/Homeless Services also reported a new $28.4 million contract to Highland Park Community Development Corp. to manage a shelter for migrant families at 52 William Street downtown, the site of the Radisson Hotel.
It also awarded a $3.95 million contract to a provider, Destination Tomorrow, to manage a migrants shelter at 108 Forsyth Street in Chinatown, which is the Windsor hotel.
A rep at the Windsor hotel confirmed that it is now operating exclusively as a migrants’ shelter and no longer booking tourists.
One local activist, Jacky Wong, a managing director with the Greater Chinatown Civic Coalition, said residents — many first and second generation immigrants — don’t have a problem with having a shelter nearby to aid the migrant families.
“Our problem is with the city putting homeless shelters for single men in the neighborhood. We want the city to treat us fairly,” Wong said.