Just two years from now, the city will have 65 percent more hotel rooms than it did in 2010 — a mind-boggling jump from 87,000 to 144,000 rooms. The building boom goes on despite recent declining occupancy and revenue.
NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing organization, has compiled a list of all the new inns either in construction or soon to start. The growth reflects confidence in a tidal wave of visitors (business travelers and tourists) that hit a record of close to 70 million in 2019 — up from 48.8 million in 2010.
But so much new inventory as well as competition from Airbnb are taking a bite out of business. Overall city hotel occupancy for 2019 is down by 1.2 percent over 2018; average room rates are down 2.3 percent; and RevPAR — the industry benchmark of revenue per available room — was off 3.6 percent, according to industry tracker STR.
Most of the new projects were set in motion before the recent modest dips in business. Others still in the planning stage are likely to be rushed to beat new restrictions by the City Council on hotel development that would require most projects to undergo review by the Council. The measure, backed by the powerful Hotel Trades Council union, is likely to be approved by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Here are a half-dozen of the most interesting new projects. All are supposed to be finished in 2020 or 2021, but precise opening dates haven’t been set.
RIU PLAZA, 145 W. 47th St. The second Riu in the Times Square area will add 650 rooms to those already on the block between Sixth Avenue and Broadway. Tribeach Holdings is behind the rising, 48-story tower, which was originally planned to be 27 stories with only 343 rooms, It will join neighboring inns The Edition, Oyo and Sanctuary, as well as a 660-room jumbo called TSX Broadway, to replace the demolished DoubleTree at the Broadway corner.
SAM CHANG PROJECT, 150 W. 48th St. Busy builder Chang bought the vacant site next to the Cort Theater from Rockefeller Group for $140 million this year. Although only 34 stories, the unnamed giant will have a whopping 974 rooms, according to Dept. of Buildings filings. To clear the site, Rock Group earlier ousted several Sam Ash stores on what was once called “Music Row.” It might be Chang’s last hurrah — he’s said he plans to retire soon now that rezonings and the proposed new regulations “are pretty much putting me out of business.”
HARD ROCK HOTEL, 151-159 W. 48th St. The 34-story, 445-room tower — a partnership of Extell and Hard Rock International — took out another bunch of historic music stores across the street from Chang’s project. Full-bore construction has resumed since the developers replaced Plaza Construction with AECOM Tishman last summer.
VIRGIN HOTEL, 1225-27 Broadway. First announced in 2013, this long-in-coming project in the heart of NoMad between West 29th and 30th is the city’s first Virgin-branded hotel. The project by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is being developed by Lam Group after years of site assembly and demolition. Difficult excavation delayed things before it topped off at 476 feet early in 2019. Then, work stopped temporarily in October when an elevator accident killed a construction worker. The tower will stand atop a glass-wrapped podium packed with restaurants, bars and stores.
MARRIOTT RENAISSANCE HOTEL, 233 W. 125th St. This nearly-finished 28-story tower with 212 rooms will be the first new hotel on Harlem’s historic main drag in 85 years. The project is by a partnership that includes Lam Group, Exact Capital, Danforth Development Partners and Goldman Sachs. It also includes a rental apartment tower and a performing-arts venue inside the restored Victoria cinema to be managed by the Apollo Theater on the same block.
BATTERY MARITIME, 10 South St. Plans to build a luxury hotel atop the Beaux Arts-style Battery Maritime Building — home to the Governors Island Ferry — had spun their wheels since 2009. But it’s finally on track thanks to an $80 million construction loan from ACORE Capital. After several changes of developers and endless negotiations with the Economic Development Corp., which owns the site, the team includes Centaur Properties, Midtown Equities and Cipriani, which will run a second-floor event space. Its modest size (70 rooms) belies its importance at an iconic site where the East River merges with the harbor.