Developer George Xu is considering opening the first Westin Residences in New York City.
Xu, who heads Century Development Group, is looking at branching out into the branded residences business with a planned Westin hotel at 137-61 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens. The project, which sits on a site once occupied by GW Supermarket, will contain 250 hotel rooms.
Xu is considering folding the residential portion of the development, which includes 49 condo units, into the Westin Residences brand.
“We are contemplating branding the condos as Westin Residences. I don’t know if that’s going to make sense. We’re actually going to do a little market research. There’s nothing like that in the Flushing area yet,” Xu said during a speech at an Asian Real Estate Professional Association event last week.
In spite of the pending nature of the plan, Xu has already engaged in talks with Starwood.
“If we do try that, it’s only 49 units. It’s easier for the market to absorb. We’re thinking about it. We spoke to Starwood, and they’re positive on that. We’ll see how it’s going to go,” he said.
If Century Development moves forward with its plan, it would open the first Westin Residences in the northeast. There are currently seven locations for the brand in the United States, these include Houston, Texas; Huntsville, Alabama; Mammoth Lakes, California; Avon, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Edina, Minnesota and Viginia Beach, Virginia. During the event, Xu also spoke about his firm’s EB-5 fundraising activities. Century Development, which operates its own EB-5 regional center, is currently seeking 24 EB-5 investors to contribute $12 million to its Parkside Manor project in Jamaica, Queens. The nine-story building is expected to contain 90 condominium units. The firm previously raised $30 million for its Farrington Tower development in Flushing.
The Westin hotel project is not the only hospitality property in the company’s development pipeline. The firm is building an eight-story Holiday Inn Express in Woodside, Queens. Meanwhile, the Farrington Tower will contain a 210-key Four Points by Sheraton.
According to Xu, the Westin project, also called the Northern Tower, is currently in its “fine-tuning” stages. “We’re trying to go with more glass. So it’s more timeless,” he said, referring to the design by Raymond Chan Architects.
The building, which is expected to have a value of $130 million, is scheduled for completion next year.