Hundreds of asylum seekers could be poised to reside at New York City’s Roosevelt Hotel in the coming weeks, with the Big Apple eying a deal to turn the iconic building into its latest migrant shelter, The Post has learned.
The Adams administration is in talks to convert the historic Manhattan hotel, located at 45 East 45th Street, into an emergency shelter as the city grapples with the ongoing surge of migrants, several people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
“While there have been few details revealed about this proposal, City Hall has confirmed to me that there are significant discussions taking place to provide temporary housing for migrant families, as well as other services at this location,” Fred Cerullo, president of the Grand Central Partnership, said.
The Big Apple reportedly offered to secure 1,025 hotel rooms for migrants on a daily basis for 36 months at the rate of $200, according to Minute Mirror, a Pakistani news site. The Post has not been able to independently confirm these details.
That’s an estimated eye-watering total of $225 million over three years.
The 1,000-room luxury hotel, owned by Pakistan International Airlines, shuttered in 2020 due to financial strains brought on by the COVID pandemic and has yet to reopen, though a handful of businesses still operate storefronts on the ground floor of the building.
Multiple construction and cleaning crews were spotted coming-and-going from the hotel lobby on Tuesday, including a handful of workers who were spiffing up the front entrance.
“Everyone is under the gun to get everything done. To make it suitable living conditions for people,” according to one contractor, who said his company was hired a week ago to make sure the plumbing is adequate.
“It’s not terrible. It’s old and the building is outdated.
“But it was an operational hotel up until a few years ago so it’s not in shambles but it needs some TLC.”
The contractor, who didn’t want to be named, said it was no secret among all the workers that they are getting the space ready to house migrants.
He added that some workers were tasked with setting up an intake facility in the hotel’s once-grand lobby.
“Today it was mostly just setting up the lobby for chairs for intake and how they’re going to sort things out to get them rooms,” the worker said.
City Hall did not respond to The Post’s request for comment about the deal.
Still, Manhattan City Councilman Keith Powers, who has been pushing for the hotel to be designated a historic site, said he was aware of the city’s plans.
“It’s an iconic location worthy of preservation and this is helping to solve two problems at the same time by preserving it as a hotel and addressing an ongoing crisis but we have to make sure that opening a location of this size is done in an appropriate fashion,” Powers said.
The hotel, which first opened its doors in 1924, has been the backdrop for a string of Hollywood films — including “Maid in Manhattan,” “Malcolm X,” “Wall Street,” “The French Connection,” “The Irishman” and “Man on a Ledge.”
It was also the setting for Guy Lombardo’s New Year’s Eve ballroom performances for three decades until 1959.
Despite being named after President Roosevelt, no commander-in-chief ever stayed there.
“The migrants are going to think they came to like Hollywood or something when they start walking around inside this hotel. I mean, it’s going to be crazy,” a member of the hotel’s security staff told The Post.
“The lobby is beautiful. They don’t need to do anything.
“The rooms are outdated but they’re all gorgeous.
“This place is huge, a whole city block.
“The migrants are coming here from Venezuela and wherever else, they’re going to think they landed in heaven.
“They’re never going to want to leave.”
The hotel’s current owners, PIA, purchased the building back in 2000.
The site has remained dormant ever since it was shuttered three years ago due to the financial fallout of the pandemic.
According to local media reports, the Pakistani government revealed plans earlier this year to turn the site into a “mixed-use high rise tower.”
Security guards outside the hotel claimed the owners had signed a three-year contract with the city to house migrants.
The potential deal involves setting aside roughly 500 hotel rooms for migrants, the guards added.
“The plan is to, you know, get through this slow period and then after three years of, you know, housing the migrants, then they’re going to open it back up as a regular hotel,” one claimed.
The city has turned a number of the city’s hotels into migrant shelters amid an influx of asylum seekers over the last year.
Currently, there are 126 emergency shelters — typically hotels — operating as emergency shelters, as well as another eight barracks-style facilities.
Nearly 61,000 migrants have flooded into the city since last spring and more than 37,000 of them are currently living in the city-operated or city-funded shelter facilities.