The Gansevoort sparked controversy with its billboard a while back, and its 250-room Flatiron location, still two years away, is already doing the same, with an eighteen-story illuminated façade that will change color every 30 minutes. At last night’s Community Board 5 meeting, one neighbor who wasn't psyched about a rainbow coming through his window told the board, “I don’t want to live in South Beach.” Another longtime resident again voiced his concern that the hotel would be a beacon for prostitutes. Owner Mike Ackenbaum argued that his operation would be “like the Ritz Carlton … incredibly high-end,” and that fast elevators and a relatively lenient door policy would keep partiers off the street. As a result, the board ultimately recommended approval of a liquor license in exchange for certain conditions, including limited hours of terrace use, earlier closing times for the four bars, a regulated sound system, and a 24/7 hotline for community residents. One resident said he felt “steamrolled,” and another plans to move because of the situation. Ackenbaum told the latter to wait — after all, the hotel might push up property values!
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