Is Hotel Saturation Ruining New York City?

Posted on: November 14th, 2017 at 5:15 am by

Last month, the city released its Hotel Development Report outlining the influx of new hotels (citywide) since 2015. Here on the Lower East Side, in particular, 6 new lodges debuted within that timeframe and another 6 are on the way, equating to some 2,000 rooms.

The trend of hotel glut served as subject for a scathing summation by Steve Cuozzo over at the New York Post. His thesis – over-saturation of lodges is ruining New York City.

He cites data showing a twofold increase in rooms since 2008 (i.e. from approximately 76,400 to 115,000).

Cuozzo also singles out the Hotel 50 Bowery for looming “like a wayward dragon over low-rise Chinatown.”

The new Hotel 50 Bowery, at that address, has a fine place to eat and a rooftop lounge with eye-popping views. But its 21-story glass façade looms like a wayward dragon over low-rise Chinatown. Its near-300 rooms will flood the compact, colorful district with big spenders certain to overwhelm its exotic but fragile chemistry.

Others offer too many places to eat and drink — as in the Chelsea/Meatpacking District area, where 24-hour party scenes spill from the Standard, Dream and Maritime hotels’ roof bars, underground discos and beer gardens. Although plans haven’t been fully revealed, the under-construction Virgin Hotel on Broadway at 28th Street will likely add to that area’s oversaturation, putting eateries and lounges near those already at the Ace and NoMad hotels.

The most irksome new hotels are the ones built mainly to help developers sell luxury condos in the towers on top of them. The Park Hyatt on West 57th Street has a mere 210 guest rooms, The Four Seasons on Barclay Street 189 rooms, and the Baccarat on East 53rd Street just 114 — to provide “five-star hotel services” to the oligarchs who dwell above them. [What about the Public Hotel on Chrystie Street?]

Real-estate developers shouldn’t take too much comfort in Manhattan’s nation-high occupancy of near-90 percent and the flood of foreign visitors. How much guests pay for their rooms matters, too. Thanks to mushrooming over-supply, nightly room rates are down 10-20 percent over two years ago. So is “RevPAR,” or revenue per available room — the gold-standard metric of success.

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