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New York City going soft, says Sternlicht

By Sarah Trefethen

Barry Sternlicht
Barry Sternlicht

Barry Sternlicht, chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital, could be happier with the New York City hotel market, judging from a comment he made on CNBC last week.
“I always watch New York City hotel rates and occupancy rates because, in my career at Starwood Hotels, I noticed New York City kind of lead the economy — up and down,” Sternlicht said.

“It started to recover before the economy recovered and it went over the hill before the economy went over the hill, and right now New York City is a little soft. It kinda bothers me that way.” Starwood is launching two new hotel brands that will have locations in New York, named Baccarat and 1.

The first 1 will open in New York in Spetember, Sternlich said on the news program, and the second will be in a joint development with Toll Brothers in Brooklyn Bridge Park, scheduled to open next fall. The Baccarat will open in New York across for the MoMa on 53rd Street.

“I think it will be the nicest hotel in New York,” he said, “but of course I’m biased.”

Meanwhile, Gemini Hotel Estate Advisors has purchased the Best Western Plus Seaport Inn at 33 Peck Slip in the South Street Seaport, according to Hotels Magazine, which reported that the company plans to convert the property to a 72-key hotel under the Jade brand and open in mid-2015.

The Manhattan hotel occupancy rate in December 2013 was 90.3 percent, unchanged from December 2012, according to the EDC.

Sternlicht’s comment on the “soft” NYC hotel market came in the context of his comments on a generally sluggish economic recovery, as highlighted by poor retail sales over Christmas.

“You’re clearly seeing the one percent doing better and the rest of the nation having real disposable income lower than 2007,” he said.

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