March 2, 2021

Square Feet: Two Marriott Brands Are to Share Space in Manhattan Tower

The project, in the works for at least a decade, will include a 378-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel and a 261-room Residence Inn by Marriott hotel, to be known as the Courtyard and Residence Inn Manhattan/Central Park. 

Operated under a franchise agreement between Granite Broadway Development and Marriott International, the hotels will be managed by Interstate Hotels and Resorts and are expected to open in late 2013. 

Company officials planned to announce the project Wednesday.

John Fox, a senior vice president in New York of PKF Consulting USA, a hotel consulting company, said the two hotels combined would be the largest new hotel project in New York since the 863-room Westin New York at Times Square opened in 2002 at the southeast corner of Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street.  A 607-room Intercontinental hotel opened last year at 300 West 44th Street.

Granite Broadway Development and Marriott say the new building will be the tallest in New York used strictly for lodging.   Mr. Fox said this claim was accurate, noting that the new Marriott building, expected to reach almost 753 feet, would exceed the height of the Four Seasons Hotel on the north side of 57th Street between Madison and Park Avenues, which is 52 stories, or 682 feet high.

Marriott has 33 properties, including furnished apartments, under nine brands in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Of the hotels, it manages approximately half, while the others are franchised. According to David Marriott, chief operations officer for the company’s eastern region, the Americas, New York is Marriott’s second-largest revenue generator in the United States, after Washington; the New York Marriott Marquis is the company’s top revenue generator worldwide. 

The Gross family, which owns Granite Broadway Development, owns five Marriott hotels, one in Philadelphia; one in Ghent, Belgium; and three in New York: the Courtyard New York JFK Airport, the Courtyard New York Manhattan/Times Square South and the Residence Inn Manhattan/Times Square.

When construction on the Residence Inn Manhattan/Times Square began in 2004, Harry Gross, the president of Granite Broadway Development, said he planned to start building another Marriott hotel at 54th Street and Broadway in 2005. 

Although Mr. Gross declined to be interviewed about the new project, documents from the New York City Department of Finance show the Gross family bought three lots on the northwest corner of 54th Street and Broadway in 2001, and later acquired development rights, using available space from two lots on the southwest corner of 55th Street and Broadway. 

Designed by Nobutaka Ashihara, the tower will have a main entrance and arrival lobby on West 54th Street; the lobby for the Residence Inn will be on the building’s third floor, and the Courtyard lobby will be on the fourth floor.  Courtyard guest rooms will be on floors 6 through 32, while Residence Inn rooms will be on floors 36 through 64; each hotel will have its own elevator banks.

The project will include ground-floor retail space; a leased restaurant on the second floor; a lounge and terrace with outdoor seating and views of Broadway on the fifth floor; and a fitness center, for use by guests of both hotels, on the 34th floor.

The lobby of the Courtyard, whose brand is geared to business travelers, will have a contemporary design, flexible space and what Marriott calls a GoBoard, a 55-inch interactive touch screen where guests can obtain local information and news headlines.  The Residence Inn, an extended-stay hotel, will offer guests suites with kitchens. Since the Residence Inn will sit above the Courtyard, Marriott officials said it would also offer the project’s best views of the city and Central Park.  

Hotel industry experts expect the project to do well, despite the recent surge in the number of hotels in the New York market.  According to Smith Travel Research, a lodging research company, there are 544 hotels, with about 100,500 rooms, in the New York metropolitan statistical area, including  33 that have opened in the last 12 months, with about 5,700 rooms. 

An additional 171 hotels, with a total of about 20,700 rooms, are in construction or in various stages of planning, not all of which will open.  These figures do not include the two new Marriott hotels.

Mr. Fox said he expected that demand for rooms in New York would continue to be very strong, and he predicted room rates would regain their 2008 peak by 2013. 

Bjorn Hanson, the divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University, said the two Marriott hotels could reduce their annual operating expenses by more than 5 percent by sharing one building, facilities like the fitness center, management and administrative staff, and departments like housekeeping and marketing.

He also said the new project’s visibility because of its location and height would be a competitive advantage, “the equivalent of numerous billboards without the expense.”

One hurdle the project could face, aside from the economy, is development delays.  As Mr. Marriott said, “There is always a construction challenge or two when you build in New York.”

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