The William Vale hotel, that futuristic looking structure (formerly known as the Level Hotel) going up at 55 Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, will have 183 rooms, a ground level restaurant, a roof deck pool, a rooftop park, its own parking garage, and will provide the equivalent of 300 fulltime jobs, but for Brooklyn Community Board 1 at its meeting Tuesday night the decision not to recommend the hotel for a liquor license all boiled down to the closing hours of the hotel’s 21st floor rooftop restaurant.
Thomas Burrows, member of CB1’s SLA Committee, argued that it was a matter of consistency; granting late-night hours for McCarren Hotel and Pool’s rooftop had turned out to be a “disaster,” as neighbors complained of pumping bass lines rattling their windows till 2 a.m., so the members of the SLA Committee decided it would behoove them to enforce some stricter hours; specifically, they want the restaurant to close at 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. on weeknights, while the hotel wants permission for it to stay open until 2 a.m. every night. (The hotel’s other bars and dining areas would close at earlier hours.)
Burrows also said he found it curious that the hotel has only 183 rooms, yet the maximum occupancy for the pool deck is roughly 450. Mordy Steinfeld, director of operations and development for the hotel’s owners, said that it’s true that’s the max amount allowed by law, but it’s “highly unlikely anyone would try to fit that many people up there.”
“We may fill in with some day passes” issued to non-guests, said Elke A. Hofmann, attorney for the hotel, who went on to argue that the restrictions on the hours of the 22nd floor restaurant were both unfair and unnecessary. “The last guy on the block can’t compete fairly because they’re being asked to close earlier,” she said. “Those are their highest end rooms on those top floors,” she said, adding that it wouldn’t make sense for the hotel to allow noise that would disturb its most important guests. “There’s no cabaret license that they’re asking for and no dancing, so there’s no likelihood it’s going to slip into something like a dance club on the roof,” she said.
In the end the full community board voted in favor of the SLA committee’s recommendation to deny, so the matter will now be taken up with the State Liquor Authority at a later date, when Hofmann says she’ll argue the merits of the hotel in hopes that they consider The Level as its own individual, high-end entity worthy of transcending the CB’s local rules. Meanwhile the Level Hotel has completed construction on the majority of its ground floor commercial space and plans to open by early 2016.