Following a lawsuit brought against the Astoria Hotel by THC, a Superior Court Judge rules that the hotel must revert back to residential use.
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S.F. hotel ordered to take locals, not tourists
By Emily Gurnon
Of the Examiner Staff
The Astoria Hotel has been illegally renting rooms to tourists and must revert to residential use, a Superior Court judge has ruled. The 92-room hotel, located at 510 Bush St. near the entrance to Chinatown, has been operating as a tourist hotel for eight years, since the current operator, a corporation called Astoria Hotel Inc., took over the lease, according to lawyers for both sides.
Before that, it offered rooms on a monthly basis to low-income people, a population sorely in need of such rooms, said Steve Collier, attorney for the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which brought suit against the Astoria.
Under San Francisco’s Residential Hotel Conversion Ordinance, hotel rooms designated for residential use cannot be converted to tourist use without a conditional use permit. “We’re in a terrible housing crisis right now, and residential hotel rooms are one of the main sources of affordable housing for working poor people in The City,” Collier said Tuesday. “Assuming that the landlord complies with the law, pending appeal, (this ruling) brings 92 rooms back on the (residential hotel) market.”
The defendant will appeal, said Andrew Zacks, attorney for the hotel operator. “Our clients believe that they have a right to rent a specific number of rooms by the day to tourists,” Zacks said Tuesday.
In her ruling, issued Aug. 6 and received Monday by attorneys, Judge Diane Wick issued a notice of permanent injunction against the hotel. As of Oct. 5, the hotel must not rent any room for less than 32 days. to guests who are transient visitors rather than San Francisco residents, the ruling states.
Zacks had argued that the Residential Hotel Conversion Ordinance was preempted by the state’s ban on commercial rent control.