The Real Deal New York

Wyndham plans NYC expansion

December 07, 2007 04:42PM
By Lauren Elkies

One of the last big hotel chains is spreading its wings in New York City and revamping its image with at least four full-service, upscale hotels.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the high-end hotel brand of Wyndham Worldwide, is foraying into the city with a hotel in Chelsea at 119-121 West 24th Street, slated to open in February or March.

One or two months later, the franchise is opening another hotel at 20 Maiden Lane. Three months after that, 341 West 36th Street will open its doors and eight months later, in March 2009, a fourth hotel will be completed at 93 Bowery.

Wyndham will only manage the 36th Street and Bowery hotels.

The chain is expected to sign two other deals in Manhattan — one at 461 West 34th and the other at 152 West 26th.

Wyndham has Generation X customers in mind as part of a strategy to expand its reach and revamp its image with hipper hotel and room amenities and a new advertising campaign. The company expects to close the year with 20 new Wyndham properties in the United States, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean.

Further changing its image, all Wyndham hotels are now required to outfit the hotel rooms with Michael Graves-designed amenities by December 31. They include a bedside alarm clock radio with MP3/iPod adaptor and integrated “Wyn-tunes” music featuring independent artists, and a single-cup coffee maker designed by Graves.

A number of the hotels are clustered in Chelsea and the far West Side because of planned developments in the Hudson Yards area, Moynihan Station and the four office buildings by Brookfield Properties, said Jeff Dallas, senior vice president of development at Wyndham Hotel Group.

“A lot of future development growth in New York City is around these projects, which is driving the demand for these projects,” said Jeff Dallas, senior vice president of development at Wyndham Hotel Group.

Wyndham’s branding efforts fell behind because of proprietary issues with the company name in New York City, which were resolved in 2004.

“While other brands grew in the city, the Wyndham brand was not there because they could not utilize the Wyndham name,” Dallas said.

New York landed at the top of Wyndham’s list of global cities to expand in when Wyndham Worldwide took over the company in October 2005.

Wyndham Hotel and Resorts, which has 92 hotels in approximately 85 cities, is studying sites in all five boroughs for full-service and select-service hotels, Dallas said.

“There’s a demand for all products,” he said.

The company, based in Parsippany, N.J., already has a franchise in Manhattan, the 92-room mid-scale Wingate by Wyndham hotel at 235 West 35th Street. That hotel came under the Wyndham name only through a new brand affiliation this summer.

Wyndham is banking on New York City’s hotel market, which is going strong compared to last year, despite the summer mortgage crisis.

This year, by October’s end (the last month for which Smith Travel Research data was available), occupancy was up to 89.2 percent, compared to 86.9 percent for the same 10 months last year. The average daily room rate increased to $320.87 from $278.11. For the month of October alone, occupancy increased to 83.6 percent from 82.2 percent in October 2006 and the rate rose to $257.14 from $230.51.

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