Long a Holiday Inn, Hotel West 57th Street was reinvented as a boutique hideaway in 2017 by a new owner, BD Hotels. His portfolio includes downtown hotspots such as the Mercer, the Bowery and the Jane. But then Covid hit and BD fell behind, despite much of the Watson Hotel being turned into a homeless shelter for which the city reimbursed it.
For the newest chapter of the 1964 building, Yellowstone will convert one of the hotel's two towers into marketable apartments while the other tower will remain a hotel, according to sources familiar with the business. Isaac Hera, the company's chief executive officer, said in an email that no plans have been set but added that "the flexibility to accommodate different uses and different business plans is a very attractive proposition".
City and state officials have pushed for hotels to be converted into affordable housing, but developers note that building codes could make this difficult.
For starters, the apartments must be at least 150 square meters, while the hotel rooms can be smaller. A kitchen is required for apartments. In some affordable residential complexes, tenants can share kitchen facilities, said Mark Ginsberg, principal at Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, who has designed affordable projects.
Adding kitchens and enlarging rooms to meet the codes could also ultimately reduce the number of beds, which is counterproductive, Ginsberg said. It could also cost a balloon and turn a standard hotel remodel with $ 3 million in cosmetic changes into a $ 30 million overhaul.
The process seems so daunting that an investor interested in remodeling a 60-room hotel in the Lower East Side will get cold feet, said Ginsberg, who is evaluating the location for the investor.
Since last spring, Mr. Ginsberg has scoured about half a dozen other hotel locations for similar customers. "With the tourism industry devastated, this is the time to act," he said.