Park Savoy

58th Street Coalition

Residents: Proposed homeless shelter a 'disaster waiting to happen'

November 05, 2018 - 6:48 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Some residents of West 58th Street don't want the city turning an old hotel into a homeless shelter for a number of reasons – the latest of which, they say, is that the building is a firetrap.

Members of the 58th Street Coalition are keeping pressure on as they anxiously await a decision by a judge on whether the city can convert the Park Savoy Hotel into a homeless shelter for 150 men.

The Park Savoy is located on West 58th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues. It’s a nine-story building, and there would be 15 to 20 men per floor at the shelter. 

WINS has obtained affidavits and done interviews with two former city officials who say the Park Savoy is "a disaster waiting to happen."

Robert Krupper, a retired FDNY captain who now works as a consultant, says there’s only one "narrow, winding" staircase to enter and leave the building. 

“It would delay a response. It would delay an evacuation,” Krupper told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria. 

Park Savoy staircase
58th Street Coalition

Robert Skallerup was a deputy commissioner for the Department of Buildings and for nine years worked for the Department of Homeless Services. He says the biggest concern is the fact there's only one means of egress.

“If a fire starts on a lower level, they’re trapped. There’s no way out. There’s no fire escapes,” Skallerup said.

But the FDNY says when the renovations are done, the building will exceed what’s required by law.

“Upon completion of the renovation work currently underway, the 107-year-old fireproof building will be safer, in terms of fire protection, than ever before,” part of the statement read.

The Department of Homeless Services says the shelter is crucial for helping homeless men get back on their feet.