NEW YORK—You have to love real estate entrepreneur Morris Moinian’s penchant for the letter “H.” The founder/principal of Fortuna Realty Group (FRG) has dubbed each of his recently opened luxury boutique properties with names that begin with the alphabet’s eighth letter—Hotel Hayden, Hotel Henri and Hotel Hugo—and he’s now readying another addition, Hotel Hendricks, to the mix.
Set to open in 2019, the 176-room, new-build hotel will rise 25 stories on West 38th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. in the trending New Midtown area. “It’s an amazing location in the heart of New York City,” said Moinian.
FRG’s goal as it continues to grow its portfolio is to develop a distinctive product that meets travelers’ desire for lifestyle-driven experiences, while also bringing something new to NYC’s evolving cultural hubs. “I’m confident Hotel Hendricks, with its industrial design, restaurant and rooftop, will be a welcome new addition to the Midtown hotel scene,” Moinian said.
He added the project is running approximately $100 million, all in. FRG financed the property (mortgage and construction loan) with M&T Bank. “Although the environment for hotel financing is not the best, we managed to close on the mortgage,” said Moinian.
Beverly Hills, CA-based designer Marcello Pozzi and New York-based firm Nobutaka Ashihara Architect PC are tasked with fulfilling Moinian’s vision, creating a personality for the hotel that will riff off what’s being described as a “raw, industrial aesthetic.”
Finishes that incorporate malachite, polished copper, bronze and exposed concrete will help define the public spaces while the guestrooms will offer a softer, but still edgy, setting using mahogany, mirrors and pastel accents.
A lobby bar opposite the reception area will visually flow beyond the hotel’s interior to the outside. A planned restaurant in the lobby space is slated to introduce new culinary concepts.
The figurative “cherry on top” of the new hotel will be the aptly named rooftop Cherry Bar, which will have a double-height ceiling, outdoor access and panoramic views to the cityscape. The bar will be enclosed in the colder months. “What will make this hotel stand out is a) the location and b) the interior design,” said Moinian.
Hotel Hendricks is coming out of the ground on a site FRG bought five years ago that held two structures. “One was a residential apartment building and the other was a commercial building,” said Moinian, noting a hotel became the highest and best use for the location “because of the unused amount of development rights on top. They [the existing buildings]were a four-story and a five-story, 100 years old. They could not carry more structure on top. So we collected and purchased additional air rights in the neighborhood and merged lots, in addition to the air rights.”
The move is enabling FRG to build Hotel Hendricks to its height following the demolition of the century-old buildings. The process took time as FRG had to negotiate with tenants who had contractual rights to stay. “But that’s done and behind us,” said the executive, adding the new building’s foundation was just finished in mid-October.
Hotel Hendricks will have “all the new gadgets,” particularly techwise, Moinian indicated, and he expects the hotel to appeal to a guest mix that includes business travelers “that would want to have a cool stay in a professional—and fun at the same time—setting and great location. It will not necessarily be tour and travel. It will attract a lot of Europeans and businesspeople.”
FRG also has other holdings in New York City that it is planning to develop “one or two at a time,” said Moinian. “And we’re hoping to extend our portfolio—much larger—with future plans to upgrade the portfolio. My desire is to have more high-end properties—super luxury—after Hendricks.”
He said the downtown properties all have been enjoying “very strong” occupancy while the rates have been flat. “But, overall, my vision for the future is after 2018, 2019, I think the city is going to go through a huge boom of tourism and demand.”
Right around the time his latest hotel will debut. HB