The Real Deal New York

Hakimian Organization plans 246-key hotel on long-held Times Sq. site

Developer buying air rights for property it acquired in 2003

August 12, 2015 03:55PM
By Rich Bockmann

From left: Ben Hakimian, 250 west 49th Street and a rendering of the hotel

From left: Ben Hakimian, 250 west 49th Street and a rendering of the hotel

The Hakimian Organization is getting ready to add the last puzzle piece it needs to build a Times Square-area hotel on a site it bought more than a decade ago.

The Midtown-based firm is in the process of acquiring 16,000 square feet of air rights from the landmarked Helen Hayes Theatre, currently home to the musical “Rock of Ages,” which would allow the company to build a 246-key hotel at 250 West 49th Street.

The company, founded by brothers Ben and Joe Hakimian, purchased the site near the corner of Eighth Avenue in 2003 for $13.1 million. They’re partnering with Gorjian Properties to develop a 96,000-square-foot hotel on the property.

The plans call to for a renovation of the existing eight-story, 58,000-square-foot building, and add another 16 floors on top.

The Helen Hayes Theatre, which was built in on 44th Street in 1912 and designated a landmark in 1987, sits in the Theater subdistrict the city created in 2008. The subdistrict allows Broadway playhouses to transfer air rights within the broader Times Square area, as opposed to only arms-length properties.

The zoning has allowed landlords, particularly the Shubert Organization, to cash in on rising real estate values while preserving the Great White Way’s playhouses.

After the transfer, the Helen Hayes Theatre will have about 43,000 square feet of air rights remaining.