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    Default NYC Hotel News

    Western front triumphs in city hotel battles
    Development surges; rates rival East Side's


    By Lisa Fickenscher
    Published on May 31, 2004

    When Le Parker Meridien opened on West 57th Street in 1981, conventional wisdom had it that building a hotel west of Fifth Avenue was folly. Building one west of Sixth Avenue--a luxury property, no less--was seen as pure insanity.

    "Everyone was shaking their heads at the time," says Steven Piper, general manager of the 731-room hotel, located between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

    Twenty-three years later, Le Parker Meridien is a stunning success, with $350-a-night rooms and 90% occupancy, and the hotel landscape around the pioneer has been transformed.

    In the past five years, 15 hotels have sprouted on the West Side, according to PKF Consulting, a hotel advisory firm. Even more surprising, demand for rooms has been so strong among business executives and well-heeled tourists that for the first time, room rates on the West Side as a whole have recently pulled within a stone's throw of those at the posh hotels on the East Side.

    Leading the West Side's charge for the high ground in the room rate battle are two superluxury entries at Columbus Circle, the Mandarin Oriental New York and Trump International Hotel & Towers. Both charge upward of $500 for a room, and both boast occupancy rates well above 80% and some nights that are completely sold out.

    Developers have taken notice of the seismic shift in the market. Virtually all of the hotels now being planned will be located on the West Side. In the next five years, three hotels with more than 400 rooms apiece will rise in that area; eight smaller hotels there will be renovated, says Sean Hennessey, president of hotel consulting firm Lodging Investment Advisors.

    In contrast to the almost frenetic pace of hotel expansion on the West Side of midtown, only a few inns have opened east of Fifth Avenue in recent years, and most have been small. No major projects are planned there for the near future.

    "The center of gravity has moved to Times Square," says Jeffrey Katz, chief executive of Sherwood Equities. His company built the Renaissance Hotel there in 1990, and it may build a hotel next year at 1600 Broadway, on a 13,000-square-foot parcel that Sherwood has owned since 1985.

    Mr. Katz notes that the westward shift has come on the heels of increases in the area's population of businesses and tourists. "It's only natural to see hotel development catch up," he says.

    The opening of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on 10th Avenue nearly 20 years ago established a solid foundation for hotel growth on that side of town. Since then, 27 hotels have opened in western midtown.

    The transformation of Times Square over the past decade provided another powerful push.

    Corporate titans such as Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Ernst & Young, Viacom and Conde Nast have moved into Times Square and set up corporate accounts at neighboring hotels.

    Visitor totals rising

    Furthermore, while tourists have always been drawn to the theater district, relatively new attractions such as ESPN Sports Zone, Madame Tussaud's wax museum, ABC's and MTV's studios, and B.B. King Blues Club & Grill are bringing even larger crowds to the neighborhood.

    Meanwhile, overall demand for hotel rooms here is rising. An estimated 36.5 million visitors came to the Big Apple last year, reports NYC & Company, the city's tourism and marketing arm. That tops the previous peak in 1999, when New York attracted 36.4 million visitors.

    The need for more hotel rooms has never been greater, yet the supply is being eaten away because properties are being converted to residential use. To take advantage of the red-hot housing market, the owners of four hotels in Manhattan with a total of 968 rooms are converting their properties to apartments, says Thomas McConnell, senior managing director of Cushman & Wakefield's hotel transaction group. Another three hotels are rumored to be following suit.

    "We have a reduction in rooms, an increase in occupancy levels and the potential expansion of the Javits Center, which all point toward new development," says Mr. McConnell.

    The West Side will almost certainly get the lion's share of the expansion, because the area has both the commercial momentum and the space. Unlike the densely packed East Side, the other side of town still has plenty of low-rise blocks that could make excellent hotel sites.

    Increasingly, the West Side is preferred not just by opportunistic developers but also by well-to-do travelers, who are actually willing in some cases to pay more for rooms west of Fifth.

    "We definitely see a shift from the East to the West Side," says Bradford Wilson, vice president of operations for W Hotels.

    Higher prices on West Side

    The W New York-Times Square, for example, sells out more quickly than its sister property on East 49th Street and Lexington Avenue, although its average room rate is usually $10 to $20 more.

    For decades, eastern midtown has enjoyed bragging rights to the most expensive beds in the city, buoyed by such five-star properties as The St. Regis, Four Seasons, The Waldorf-Astoria, The Pierre and the Palace.

    But this paradigm is changing. Last year, the rate disparity diminished, with East Side hotels charging $209 on average--just $24 more than their western counterparts. That was barely half the dollar figure that separated the two areas in 2000, according to PKF Consulting.

    "There are more higher-end hotels on the West Side than ever before, and the rate gap is narrowing," says Michael Stengel, general manager of the Marriott Marquis.

    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

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    An estimated 36.5 million visitors came to the Big Apple last year
    :shock: That is amazing!!! There are whole countries that have that amount of people.

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    Rooms for improvement


    June 18, 2004

    Hotel renovations are the rage right now, as properties primp for an improving economy. Two dated properties, the Algonquin Hotel and the Metropolitan Hotel, are betting that they can recapture the glamour of their glory days with million-dollar face-lifts.

    The Algonquin Hotel-home of the famed Algonquin Round Table-is closing for four weeks on June 27, for the first time in its 102-year history. It will sink $3 million into such modern amenities as wireless Internet access and flat-screen televisions. The hotel, however, will keep the famous New Yorker wallpaper in its corridors.

    When the Metropolitan is finished with its $35 million makeover this fall, it will be renamed the Doubletree Metropolitan Hotel, following its sale last year from the Tisch family to developers who are branding it as a Hilton. The famous Seven Year Itch scene in which Marilyn Monroe's dress flies up around her was filmed in front of the hotel.


    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

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    Midtown hotel lures taxis


    by Lisa Fickenscher
    June 18, 2004

    In an effort to drum up business, the Alex Hotel in midtown set up an unofficial taxi stand this week, complete with homemade chocolate chip cookies, coffee and even branded mugs for passing cabbies.

    "We want to show recognition to the taxi drivers," says General Manager Mary Lou Pollack. "Then they'll know there is a hotel on 45th Street." Yellow cabs driving by the property, which opened in November at 205 E. 45th St., were greeted on Thursday by a large banner reading “Taxi Appreciation Day” and beckoned over by hotel executives, who handed treats to the hacks and told them about the Alex.

    The promotion also was meant to show cabbies that the hotel is 'yellow-cab friendly,' so that when a driver brings a guest to the hotel from one of the airports, for example, the doormen will not favor a limousine over the taxi when a departing guest needs a ride.


    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

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    HARD ROCK HOTEL REVIVES PARAMOUNT DEAL FOR $128M


    By LOIS WEISS
    July 7, 2004

    THE hardball played by Ian Schrager has paid off.

    When the Hard Rock Hotel failed to close a deal last month to buy Schrager's Times Square Paramount hotel, Schrager told The Post he would keep the deposit and put the property back on the block.

    Now the Hard Rock folks have decided to go through with the deal, paying slightly more than the original $125 million purchase price.


    Schrager told us, "We're selling it for $128.5 million and we're only selling 90 percent."

    After Hard Rock and partner Becker Ventures defaulted on the $5 million deposit, Schrager's Northstar Capital partners renegotiated the bottom line.

    "That's the deal that was made," Schrager said. "If we marketed it again we would have gotten more, but I'm interested in other things. We have a retained interest, and I'm moving on."

    Mark Gordon of Sonnenblick-Gordon, a hotel marketer who was hired by Schrager to resell it, said, "It's a great opportunity for the buyer and seller. It will give the Hard Rock folks a flagship location in New York and allows the seller to sell at a good price so they can redeploy the capital."

    The hotel will be part of the Sol Melia group.

    At the end of last month, Schrager also concluded a sale/leaseback of The Clift in San Francisco to Divco West. The $71 million deal is expected to enable Schrager and Northstar to pull the hotel chain out of its bankruptcy court restructuring.


    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime
    HARD ROCK HOTEL REVIVES PARAMOUNT DEAL FOR $128M


    By LOIS WEISS
    July 7, 2004

    THE hardball played by Ian Schrager has paid off.

    When the Hard Rock Hotel failed to close a deal last month to buy Schrager's Times Square Paramount hotel, Schrager told The Post he would keep the deposit and put the property back on the block.

    Now the Hard Rock folks have decided to go through with the deal, paying slightly more than the original $125 million purchase price.


    Schrager told us, "We're selling it for $128.5 million and we're only selling 90 percent."

    After Hard Rock and partner Becker Ventures defaulted on the $5 million deposit, Schrager's Northstar Capital partners renegotiated the bottom line.

    "That's the deal that was made," Schrager said. "If we marketed it again we would have gotten more, but I'm interested in other things. We have a retained interest, and I'm moving on."

    Mark Gordon of Sonnenblick-Gordon, a hotel marketer who was hired by Schrager to resell it, said, "It's a great opportunity for the buyer and seller. It will give the Hard Rock folks a flagship location in New York and allows the seller to sell at a good price so they can redeploy the capital."

    The hotel will be part of the Sol Melia group.

    At the end of last month, Schrager also concluded a sale/leaseback of The Clift in San Francisco to Divco West. The $71 million deal is expected to enable Schrager and Northstar to pull the hotel chain out of its bankruptcy court restructuring.


    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.
    Odd, Sol Melia is a resort brand with beach-type locations. Interesting to see how they play it.

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    Double occupancy on selling block


    July 9, 2004

    The hotel market is buzzing these days--but not just with tourists.

    Hoteliers are busy hanging "For Sale" signs on their doors. The Sheraton Russell Hotel and the Stanhope Park Hyatt are the latest properties up for grabs. Both boutiques, built in the 1920s, are located in exclusive residential neighborhoods, making them likely candidates to be converted into apartments, say industry sources.

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which owns the Sheraton Russell, at East 37th Street and Park Avenue, retained real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels to market the property.

    "The area (Murray Hill) is undergoing a renaissance," says Alan Tantleff, an executive vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle.

    According to sources, the real estate firm also has been retained to find a buyer for the Stanhope, which is located across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue. Mr. Tantleff declined to comment.


    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

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    Hotel Market Attracts High-Roller Investors


    By Melissa Kress
    July 13, 2004

    NEW YORK CITY-With reports that two Manhattan hotels may be on the market, investor interest in the city is heating up.

    According to Cheryl Boyer, director of the Hospitality and Leisure Practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the marketplace is rebounding and performance statistics support that claim. PwC statistics for the Manhattan hotel industry through May show that RevPAR increased to $174.33 in May from $161.37 in April. Additionally, that new figure was up almost $40, from $133.51, over May 2003's RevPAR. Furthermore, PwC reports that occupancy hit a high of 86.3% in May, a slight uptick from 86.1% in April and the highest occupancy figure since the fall of 2000.

    Overall, PwC expects Manhattan hotel occupancy to be an estimated 82.2% and ADR to be $184.90, resulting in a RevPAR of $151.89 for the year-end 2004.

    These numbers may explain why the Park Central New York Hotel and the Millenium Hilton are reported to be for sale. Although Boyer could not confirm if the hotels were officially on the market, she did say that the owners may be "testing the waters" and New York could see record-setting prices for quality assets. She adds that there was an attempted sale of the Park Central a few years ago.

    "Investor interest is very high, particularly in New York," Boyer explains. "There has not been a significant amount of good quality assets on the market and fundamentals are very good right now."

    Park Central is located at 870 Seventh Ave. at 56th Street and includes 935 guest rooms. The Millenium Hilton is located at 55 Church St. in the city's Financial District. It features 565 rooms, including 463 guest rooms and 102 suites.

    The rumors of the hotels hitting the market follow the sale of the Paramount Hotel in Times Square to Lifestar Hotels LLC for $126.5 million, as GlobeSt.com reported last week. After a multi-million dollar renovation, it will be rebranded as the Hard Rock Hotel, New York. Other notable hotel deals in the city this year include the $23.1-million sale of the Gorham hotel at 136 W. 55th St. to BD Hotels; the $14.5-million sale of the leasehold interest in the Shoreham hotel at 33 W. 55th St. by Credit Suisse First Boston to an affiliate of Ark Investment Partners LP; and the renaming of the Chelsea Grand Hotel on 25th Street to Four Points by Sheraton Manhattan.


    © 2004 by GlobeSt.com, LLC.

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    NYPOST: Real Estate


    By LOIS WEISS
    July 14, 2004

    The Blackstone Group is negotiating to buy the Millennium Hilton across from ground zero for around $200 million, Real Estate Finance & Investment reported.

    The 565-room hotel was developed by MTA honcho Peter Kalikow at 55 Church St. and is currently owned by a venture of CDL Hotels, the same international company that owns the Millennium U.N. Hotel and the Millennium in Times Square.

    The Hilton was shuttered on Sept. 11, 2001, and has only enjoyed a 60 to 70 percent occupancy rate since it was refurbished and reopened in May 2003. Among the amenities: 42-inch plasma-screen TVs, high-speed Internet access and a new fitness center with an indoor heated lap pool.


    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

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    Plaza hotel to be sold


    August 13, 2004

    A British luxury hotelier and Saudi prince are selling the Plaza hotel to an affiliate of El Ad Properties, which has developed several luxury condos in Manhattan.

    U.K.-based Millennium & Copthorne Hotels said that Plaza Operating Partners, its joint venture with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, will sell the five-star, money-losing Fifth Avenue hotel and an adjacent property for $675 million to CPS One, an affiliate of El Ad Properties. The deal is slated to be complete by the end of the year.

    News of the deal sent shares of Millennium, the international hotel arm of Hong Leong Group Singapore, up sharply on the London index. Millennium has been hit hard by the decline in tourism worldwide following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The sale price represents a considerable premium over the $325 million the partners paid for the Plaza in 1995.


    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

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    At one point or another wasn't the plaza to be torn down and replaced with a 50 storey building? I don't know if this was under the ownership of Donald Trump or not. It would be ashame if that had happened, although I would not object to a modern glass addition above, im sure however in this day and age there would be a public outcry.

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    Trump just wanted to convert some of it to Condos, i think the Hotel Pennsylavania or Roosevelt Hotel may be torn down for new toweers, as other posts on this site have mentioned

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    The Plaza is a NYC and national landmark.

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    NYSun

    Hotel Capacity Soars in New York, as Downtown Surges

    BY JULIE SATOW - Staff Reporter of the Sun
    March 21, 2005
    URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/10829

    The number of hotel rooms in Manhattan has swelled by 5,000 in the past five years and is expected to grow by another 1,500 in the next year.

    The growth contradicts some press reports and union claims that have depicted a dwindling hotel room inventory that could leave the city's booming tourism industry stranded.

    According to the recently released Manhattan lodging report from the consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers, 1,479 net new hotel rooms will be created by year-end 2006 and 2,728 net new hotel rooms are to open in the near future, mostly by year-end 2007.

    "Net-net, over the next several years years, as the West Side opens up and downtown comes back, I guarantee there are going to be more hotel rooms than there are today," the chief executive officer of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Arthur Adler, said.

    "There is a growing supply of hotel rooms, the data speaks for itself," Bjorn Hanson, who authored the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, told The New York Sun. He said the bulk of the hotels that are in the planning stages now should be complete by 2007.

    With a red-hot residential market, a number of hotels in prime neighborhoods have been converted into apartments. Countering that trend, however, is a booming hotel market that has seen a number of boutique hotels cropping up in neighborhoods such as TriBeCa, Harlem, and the Lower East Side, where hotels were scarce, experts say. There are also some larger hotels on the horizon, including the 1,500-room hotel scheduled to open at the expanded Jacob K. Javits Center on the West Side.

    A residential premium is driving the conversion trend. Of the 17 hotels sold last year, seven were converted for residential use, including the Empire Hotel, the InterContinental Central Park South, and the Mayflower Hotel.

    While the average sale price of a hotel is less than $1,000 a square foot, the sale price for a luxury apartment in the fourth quarter of 2004 was $1,364, according to data released by Douglas Elliman.

    While these hotels are being converted, the flip side is the development of new hotels.

    "The combination of the strengthening economy, weak U.S. dollar, and the reduction in the number of hotel rooms has made New York attractive to many hotel developers," Mr. Hanson said. Because residential developers are snatching up many of the larger, expensive properties, hoteliers are looking at alternative areas. Boutique hotels that have developed a trendy following after their openings last year include the Hotel Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District and Andre Balazs's hip backpacker's hostel, the QT. Soon to follow is the first kosher boutique hotel with a jazz lounge and whirlpool tubs, the Blue Moon Hotel at 100 Orchard St., scheduled for a May opening.

    Brooklyn is also seeing growth, with work under way on a 280-room expansion of the Brooklyn Marriott hotel that opened in Downtown Brooklyn in 1998, and what has been described as a luxury boutique hotel expected to open this year on Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights.

    "New York is also seeing a small number of limited service hotels that offer a high value for visitors who don't need all the amenities such as a large lobby and concierge services," Mr. Hanson said. These include hotels such as the Four Points Soho Village and the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which are both opening in January.

    The new crop of hotels is a far cry from the large luxury hotels they are mostly replacing, such as the Plaza and the InterContinental Central Park South. These hotels employed an average of 150 workers for 100 rooms, while the boutiques usually maintain 50 to 75 employees for 100 rooms. The limited-service hotels have only 35 to 50 employees for 100 rooms, according to Mr. Hanson.

    So despite an increase of net hotel rooms, there could still be a job loss for hotel workers, Mr. Hanson said. "The luxury hotels that are closing have, on average, 1.5 workers for every room, and the hotels that are opening have, on average, .75 employees per room, so the number of jobs created are greatly surpassed by the number of jobs being lost."

    A labor organization that represents hotel workers, the New York Hotel Trades Council, has argued that it is steadily losing jobs because of the shrinking number of hotels in New York. A spokesman for the union, John Turchiano, said it has lost 1,076 jobs in 2004, largely because of hotel conversions to residential buildings. A recent New York Times article about the conversions was headlined "If They Come, Where Will They Sleep?" and claimed "the industry is shrinking."

    "Gee, what happened to the 5A Clarion, the Melrose, the Gramercy Park, the Delmonico, the Helmsley, and the Windsor, all of which were sold for the purposes of condominium conversions, not to mention the St. Regis, which converted two full floors to condominiums?" a union spokesman, John Turchiano, said, listing hotels not mentioned in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. "I think Mark Twain was right. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics."

    The president of the Hotel Association of New York City, Joseph Spinnato, said he was not surprised by data showing an increasing number of hotel rooms in the coming years.

    "We have heard from various developers and companies that there are hotels in the works," said Mr. Spinnato, whose group represents 200 hotels. "It is just the market, which dictates that if hotel rooms are lost new rooms must come on board."

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    "Intelligencer: April 18–25"

    Plaza Saved!
    Condo-mania strikes more hotels.


    The embattled owners of the Plaza Hotel rolled back their condo plans last week, but more condo-ized hotels are on the way. The Sutton on East 56th Street, bought by Alchemy Properties last month for $52.25 million, will shutter in June so it can resurface later this year as a condo building. Alchemy president Kenneth Horn says a conversion has been in the cards for the Sutton since its renovation in the nineties, but the market fell and plans were put on hold. Meanwhile, twelve blocks south of the Sutton, the Millennium U.N. Plaza hotel is rumored to be turning 200 of its rooms into condos as well. Paul Underhill of Millennium confirms it’s been approached by developers. John Turchiano of the New York Hotel and Motel Trade Council union is still mad about the trend. “It’s a shame that so-called developers can’t go out and develop.”

    —S. Jhoanna Robledo

    Copyright © 2004 , New York Metro, Llc.

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