Harshad Patel Sept. 8 announced that, despite an agreement with the city of Queens, N.Y., to establish a planned homeless shelter at the site of the Holiday Inn Express he co-owns, he is backing out of the deal.
The Indian American businessman said in a report that protesters who had been against the proposition of a homeless shelter replacing the hotel operations since Aug. 11 hurt the business dramatically.
The decision to back out was made in part because of the pressure from the middle-class-dominated neighborhood.
The Sept. 8 tweet sent out by “HolidayInnEx Maspeth” said, “We would like to confirm that the Hotel will not be converting to a shelter as suggested. It will continue to operate as a Hotel.”
The city’s Department of Homeless Services Sept. 9 would not comment on whether the deal had been nixed, according to a Metro.us report.
Over the course of the past weeks, protests have increased, and has led to a lawsuit filed against the city by local politicians as a way to pressure Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to change the course of action on the site, the Metro report noted.
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., who announced the lawsuit Aug. 31 with city councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, was quoted as saying, “The mayor has misappropriated over a billion dollars, by trying to address a homeless issue by dumping families into hotels with no services, no kitchens and no transportation,” in the report.
Those against the shelter project have said the plan is against the law.
While the shelter had been scheduled to open Oct. 1, city officials contend it is still in the works and is merely delayed — and not dead — the report added.