Rumor: Ace Hotel Converting 225 Bowery into Hotel

Posted on: September 30th, 2013 at 5:23 am by

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225 Bowery is currently undergoing renovation

Renovations at 225 Bowery are currently classified as a straight-up residential conversion (i.e. rehabbing apartments and retail). That’s not what we’ve been hearing these last few weeks, though. According to a source familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity, Ace Hotel is developing the property as a new lodge for its stable of hip hangouts. The Salvation Army Chinatown shelter and community center, which owns the ten-story building, will reportedly cease operations within the year to make way for the hotel.

Much like the Jarmulowsky Bank project at 52 Canal Street, Ace is allegedly acting as silent partner at 225 Bowery, which will carry its own namesake. It’s certainly a chance to capitalize on the neighborhood that is rapidly shifting from an “edgy” enclave to a haven for “young creatives.” The concept here is reportedly a “distilled service” venture, which is apparently jargon for an overpriced hotel that sports a faux-hostel vibe. This would not be completely surprising, as Ace possesses a history of working with buildings that serve low-income communities, and turning them into “authentic” hangouts (aka “authentrification”). For instance, the Ace Hotel New York was an SRO, and the Ace Hotel Seattle was a Salvation Army halfway house.

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Our tipster provided the following information on the 225 Bowery project:

Ace Hotel is making major strides into Chinatown with two properties, including one that will displace the Salvation Army Chinese Community Center at 225 Bowery. The two buildings — the other is the Jarmulowsky Bank Building on Canal – promise to exercise a classic pincer movement on what’s left of Chinatown as we know it. Or as heard around the New York offices of Atelier Ace (the branding arm behind Ace Hotel and affiliated projects), the area is “still edgy, but young creatives are beginning to gain a foothold.”

The project at the Jarmulowsky Bank Building will be a luxury hotel designed and operated by Ace under a different name, similar to another Ace luxury offshoot opening soon in Panama City, American Trade Hotel.

The 225 Bowery project will be what Ace is calling a “distilled service” venture (an over-priced capsule hotel with a faux-hostel vibe). Ace has been trying to develop its capsule offshoot in Portland for several years at the old Grove Hotel, but investors began pulling out when they couldn’t convince the city to evict a homeless camp on the nearby street. 225 Bowery is now home to the Salvation Army Chinese Community Center, which will be displaced. If plans for the Grove project are any indication, the micro-hotel is likely to have an “Asian-themed” aesthetic.

Ace has a history of taking over buildings that serve low income communities and turning them into “authentic” hipster hangouts. The Chinatown projects are different though, in that the combined scale poses Ace as a major force in the de-Chinatownification of Chinatown.

We reached out to Ace Hotel to verify this intel, but did not receive a response in time for publication. Moreover, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army would not confirm anything, and responded to our requests with a simple “no comment.”

If this information proves true, the new hotel would be just a few paces north of the forthcoming CitizenM skyline-buster at the corner of Delancey.

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