Owner has second motel property raided

Posted at: 01/30/2014 12:26 PM
Updated at: 01/30/2014 5:35 PM
By: WNYT Staff

Police raid the Blu-Bell Motel in Colonie for code violations.
Police raid the Blu-Bell Motel in Colonie for code violations.
Photo: WNYT

COLONIE - The motel owner facing $750,000 in code violation fines has even more legal trouble.

Hard to believe a property with a couple of dozen units could have more or worse violations than the 254 cited at the Skylane, but at the Blu-Bell, the chief inspector says he thinks conditions are worse.

Colonie officials say it was while they were enforcing their shutdown at the Skylane Motel that they observed work going on down the street at the Blu-Bell Motel. Both properties are owned by Alex Patel.

Officials say Patel and his agents failed to obtain the necessary building permit to work on the Blu-Bell. That gave them probable cause for a warrant, which they carried out Thursday morning, finding massive problems here.

“The west wing of this building – about 80 percent of it – is not habitable. There's no hot water, no heat, a couple of the toilets have been frozen solid, major holes in the floors, debris, windows that don't work,” says Paul Shepard, Colonie Building Code Manager.

“They can do renovation work, but they have to follow the law like anyone else. They have to get proper building permits so we know that the work they are doing complies with our codes,” says Michael Magguilli, Colonie Town Attorney.

The Skylane was inspected after a tenant fell through the floor and broke a bone. Property Owner Alex Patel was issued 254 code citations. That case is pending.

Officials say he'll receive a large number of additional citations for the Blu-Bell's problems. Some tenants will we required to relocate.

Officials were in the process of determining whether any of the Blu-Bell's two dozens rooms could continue to occupied until a large number of necessary repairs can be made.

Magguilli doesn't have an exact number of violations, but says it is “in the hundreds”. He says only a couple of the units at the Blu-Bell can still be occupied. The vast majority have been red-tagged, making it illegal for anybody to rent them at this point.

The town of Colonie has a moratorium on motel repairs and building in this corridor. It seems to be an open question whether Patel could repair his motel, even if he got the necessary permit. The town contends he never got that permit.