The long reign of the Prince Hotel may soon come to an end.
The grimy Bay Ridge flophouse just down the block from a planned city pre-school is the target of an investigation by mayoral task force charged with cracking down on illegal hotels, according to the city.
Locals have been pushing for years to shut down the alleged haunt for hookers and druggies to no avail, but a Council staffer said there may be more bite to the city’s bark this time around.
“The DeBlasio administration gave this issue more attention in one year than Bloomberg did in 12 years,” said Justin Brannan, a spokesman for Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).
The dismal den on 93rd Street near Third Avenue operates contrary to zoning, which only allows for residential buildings, and its certificate of occupancy expired in 1983, said Community Board 10 district manager Josephine Beckmann. Plus the property has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fines over the last decade — many for doing un-permitted renovations and failing to fix the faulty work after city inspectors uncovered it, city records show.
The Prince’s persistence vexes Beckmann.
“Frankly, it’s frustrating for me as the district manager of the board to even stand here and explain to you how this continues, because I’m at a loss,” Beckmann said at a Feb. 25 town hall where Ridgites registered their outrage that the city was planning to build a pre-school near the hotel.
To drive her point home, the district manager showed attendees a four-inch-thick binder containing complaints about the hotel and correspondence the community board has had with city agencies trying to get action.
If the Mayor’s office doesn’t follow through, new legislation introduced by Borough President Adams might force the flophouse to fold.
The beep is pushing a bill that would let the city put a lien against buildings where property owners conducted un-permitted construction and failed to pay fines for the sub rosa fabrication.
With a new stand-alone pre-K potentially opening less than a block from the Prince, Gentile’s office is calling on the city to act aggressively against the aberrant auberge, Brannan said.
“This is the time to get the Mayor’s Office to really pay attention to the Prince Hotel,” he said.
Hotel owner Moses Fried declined to comment, according to a representative.