Speculation Swirls Over Elmhurst Site’s Future
Rumors have been flying around the community about the future of the Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst, which closed its doors last week after decades of service.
The Times Newsweekly was notified last Thursday, Jan. 9, that the hotel located at 7900 Queens Blvd. shut down two days earlier. According to an anonymous tipster, there was word that a shelter for homeless residents and/or battered women would go in its place.
However, there seems to be no hard evidence that the city is planning to open any kind of shelter at the Pan American, which stands seven stories tall and includes 208 guest rooms, 12 one-bedroom suites, two conference rooms and a fullservice restaurant.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeless Services told the Times Newsweekly last Thursday the agency had no knowledge of a shelter proposed for the defunct hotel.
“The DHS has not received a proposal on this site,” the representative stated. The agency has an open-ended request for proposals for new homeless shelters across the five boroughs of the city.
Christian Cassagnol, district manager for Queens Community Board 4, also stated he heard no such shelter plans for the Pan American. By law, the local community board must be notified in writing of any shelter plans being considered for its area .
A clerk who answered the phone at the Pan American office last Thursday stated the hotel is no longer accepting reservations and that the staff has been given a month to clear the site.
The clerk had no knowledge of what would happen to the building itself.
The property is zoned for commercial use under C4-2 zoning regulations.
According to information on the Pan American Hotel website, the lodge had many long-time employees who had been with them for decades; most of them lived locally.
The management touted the hotel’s close proximity not only to LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports but also to public transportation and local shopping centers.