Shaken, but things are stirring.
Sure, the city’s hotel biz took a gut punch this year — we lost icons like the Gramercy Park hotel and the ultra-trendy NoMad Hotel — but according to Joel Rosen, president of New York-based GFI Hospitality, a real estate development and investment company, it was no knockout blow.
“It’s coming back,” said Rosen, whose company opened the Thompson Central Park in November (formerly the Parker). “It’s not robust, but is the hotel business over? No, not at all. New York real estate is historically very resilient.”
He gives the global recession fo 2008 as one example: “It was all doom and gloom but it came back, better than ever,” he said.
Indeed, GFI has seen tremendous hotel development growth this past decade. This summer, the company added Ace Hotel Brooklyn on Schermerhorn Street in Boerum Hill to its New York hotel holdings, which include Ace Hotel New York, the Beekman and the James New York NoMad; all significant projects that have revitalized historic buildings, and even kickstarted neighborhoods like Nomad.
Still, the hotel business is in bad shape and likely won’t fully recover for some time, The Post reported.
“It’s the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime, and hopefully won’t see again,” said Rosen. “But the demand drivers have come back. The entertainment and leisure activities bounced back. The restaurants came back to resounding enthusiasm from locals and tourists. There is tremendous pent-up demand to travel. And rates have held pretty steady, which is surprising and helpful.”
We’re already seeing a burst of new hotels opening their doors, including the new-build luxury Pendry Manhattan West, the Moore Hotel in Chelsea, Civilian NYC in New York’s Theater District, the reimagined Park Lane New York on Central Park South, the new construction Ritz-Carlton New York in Nomad opening February 2022 at 1185 Broadway and 28th Street and the Fifth Avenue Hotel, a six-story, turn-of-the-century building with an added 24-story new-built tower, at West 28th Street and Fifth Avenue, also due early in 2022.
Next year, French hotel brand Group Barrière will unveil its first US hotel, Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s New York, right in Tribeca at 456 Greenwich St. This eight-story hotel will consist of 96 guest rooms and suites, several restaurants, a 1,500-square-foot interior courtyard, a spa, a swimming pool and a state-of-the-art screening room — a perfect addition, what with the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival on its doorstep.
“We’re hoping it will be a premiere place for the festival attendees,” said Joshua Caspi, principal at Caspi Development, whose hotel, residential and office real estate portfolio stretches across the New York metropolitan area, including Chambers Hotel on West 56th and the Watson Hotel on West 57th.
There’s no denying 2021’s COVID shutdown put a dent in Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s New York’s unveiling: “That wasn’t pleasant: It gave us a 71-day shutdown that cost us a couple million bucks,” said Caspi. “But we have plenty of experience with keeping the boat afloat. I think that as fast as the acceleration went on the way down, it will match it on the way back up.”
Longterm, Caspi is very excited, too: “We’re in contracts with five more hotel developments in New York City and around the country,” he said.
Despite the new Omicron wave, Rosen also sees light at the end of the tunnel.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” Rosen said.