Haven for New York artists, Chelsea Hotel for sale

Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:05pm EDT
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By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York hotel that inspired creative talent from Sir Arthur Clarke to Sid Vicious is up for sale.

The Chelsea Hotel, controlled primarily by three families that have owned it for 65 years, will remain a haven for struggling artists despite changing hands, a hotel spokesman said on Tuesday.

"The history itself makes the hotel what it is," said the spokesman, Loren Riegelhaupt.

"Anybody who's going to be looking to buy the Chelsea knows that the Chelsea is the Chelsea, and there's nothing you want to do to change what the Chelsea is," he said, adding that there was no asking price.

A partial list of those who stayed there includes writers such as Clarke, O. Henry and Thomas Wolfe, playwright Arthur Miller, artist Andy Warhol and musicians Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.

Punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols killed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen there in 1978 in a drug-induced stupor, and the Chelsea Hotel is where Bob Dylan, according to his own lyrics, wrote "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands."

The 12-floor, 250-room hotel was built in 1883 on 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, a part of town called Chelsea that was a theater district at the time. Now it is home to a concentration of art galleries and is one of the city's best-known gay districts.

Upkeep of the old building required a $2 million to $3 million investment in recent years to renovate 25 rooms and the lobby, Riegelhaupt said.   Continued...