2007_06_arts_bbard.gifThe Hotel Chelsea Blog has been breaking a story from their ground floor this weekend. The Bard Family, who have run the hotel for...ever, have been told their job is done (whether they like it or not).

Numerous sources are reporting that the Bard family is no longer in charge of the Chelsea Hotel. Apparently this occurred Thursday night when a member of the board came to the hotel to deliver the news to Stanley that he was out. Stanley (pictured) was seen staggering out of his office in disbelief at the news. Although he had been under pressure from the board for some time this apparently came as a bolt out of the blue.

They go on to report that if this is true, an outside management corporation will take over operation of the hotel on Monday. This now seems likely as an update confirming the news came shortly after.

They have been forced out of their management role. As far as we know they still retain their ownership share. Stanley Bard took over operation of the hotel from his father, David Bard, in the mid-1950s. (By the way, today, June 16, is Stanley Bard's 73rd birthday. How weird is that?) Stanley has always managed to keep the rents at least somewhat affordable for the writers and artists in residence, but now his partners (represented by a board of director) have forced him and his son out of their management roles. This certainly means the end of an era for the hotel. We have been hearing rumors since early 2006 that the board was putting pressure on Stanley to make the hotel more profitable.

Chelsea Now has a recent interview with Stanley Bard giving some insight in to how he began running the hotel, and where he saw it going in the future. This, of course, was before he was dethroned.

How long have you owned and managed the hotel?

My father ran it beginning in 1939. I’ve been involved in the company my entire life, and so have my children. It’s a private corporation, so I don’t really want to go into the details of ownership. Let’s just say we’ve controlled the management of it forever. My son David and my daughter Michelle grew up at first hating the hotel because it took their father away from them. I’m a workaholic. I’m not young anymore, but I still spend 15 to 20 hours a day here.

You worked with your father from when you were in your teens?
Yeah. My father spent a lot of time teaching me. It took me 20 years to learn the physical plant and layout. It was built in the 1880s, and it is so discombobulated—every room is different. It was built horizontally rather than vertically. Each person designed a floor.

What are your plans for the business? There’s a rumor it will be turned into a boutique hotel.
No, that’s not what I want. Some of the board members do, but I’m fighting them on that. I don’t think that’s the way to go.

How do you envision the hotel in five years? Ten years? Will it stay a family business and continue to be run the same way?
Well, maybe not so much a “family business,” but I want the family to run it with a heart and a soul for the purpose of creating something admirable that will continue in the same vein, that will preserve the spirit and the integrity of this wonderful structure.

Will you ever retire?
No. They’ll probably have to carry me out.

More from Bard in this recent documentary. So will the Hotel Chelsea become more and more like the "trendy" VIP basement lounge bar (whatever it's called these days)? Will it no longer be "A Rest Stop for Rare Individuals"? Say it ain't so.

Photo by David Gibbon.