News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Lore Croghan, Daily News, New York
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Nov. 14, 2003 - The Raging Bull's first-ever hotel project is a go.
The New York Liberty Development Corp.'s board approved the sale yesterday of $38.9 million in tax-free Liberty Bonds for actor Robert De Niro's luxury hotel in Tribeca.
Construction of the six-story, 83-room building -- which for now, at least, is being called the Downtown Hotel -- will be backed by the federally funded bonds intended to promote economic development in the city after Sept. 11.
"This is the type of project we're looking for," development agency chairman Charles Gargano said after the board meeting. "We want to get a mix to make lower Manhattan into a 24-hour community."
De Niro holds a stake of slightly more than 50 percent in the $43 million development, which is expected to break ground by year's end and open for business in spring 2005.
His partners are veteran New York hoteliers Ira Drukier and Richard Born. Their chic boutique properties include the Mercer in SoHo, the Maritime in Chelsea and the Chambers on W. 56th Street.
They will build the Tribeca hotel on a parking lot at Greenwich and North Moore streets that De Niro bought in 1991. Back then, he was planning to build performance spaces and movie theaters to expand his Tribeca Film Center, which is at neighboring 375 Greenwich St.
In a sense, the hotel project is an expansion of the film center. The hotel will be connected to the building next door, and the two properties will function as a single complex, hotelier Born told the Daily News.
Room rates will begin at more than $300 per night. The upscale hotel will have several oversize suites for celebrities who are on location in New York for long periods, Born said. It will also cater to traveling executives who have business to conduct downtown.
"I think that Tribeca needs a hotel that fits the neighborhood," he said.
Business owners like Richard Corman think the red-brick hotel -- which will be small-scale and respectful of the architectural style of the landmarked district -- could give Tribeca a boost.
"We want people to come and spend time here," said Corman, a board member of the Tribeca Organization, a post-9/11 business advocacy group.
Dozens of shops, restaurants and bars in the neighborhood have shut down since Sept. 11. Much of their customer base was World Trade Center employees.
"We're seeing an acceleration of business closings, and a slowing of new arrivals," he added.
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(c) 2003, Daily News, New York. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.