Larry Silverstein, whose enthusiasm for Lower Manhattan has persevered through the protracted rebirth of his World Trade Center site, capped an upbeat view of Downtown’s prospects at a civic breakfast this morning with the presentation of a plan to build a Four Seasons hotel-condo just east of Ground Zero.
The project, at 99 Church Street across from the Woolworth Building, will demolish the former Moody’s headquarters to clear room for a 912-foot tower with 175 hotel rooms and 143 condominiums. Silverstein, speaking to a collection of Downtown investors and boosters in a Wall Street ballroom, said the building would be New York’s largest residential tower and, with a Four Seasons flag, address the Financial District’s “hospitality deficit.”
That deficit could turn into a surplus, though. The Downtown Alliance, a co-sponsor of the breakfast, announced today that at least 10 hotel projects with more than 1,500 rooms are in the works.
Silverstein and Four Seasons president Katie Taylor presented the deal as proof that Lower Manhattan’s luxury condo cluster can grow through turbulence in the financial sector and delays in key public projects.
If it reaches 80 stories, the tower would be the city’s tallest residential building.
“The new population is coming for cutting-edge, high-design and environmentally conscious living space,” Silverstein said.
The Four Seasons project, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, should top out in 2010 and open a year later. Corcoran Sunshine is handling sales.
Silverstein seems to be betting that Lower Manhattan can attract a critical mass of upscale residents and visitors with the sterling brands of Stern and the Four Seasons, which could remain attractive even if Wall Street’s troubles cast gloom over the economy.
Silverstein told reporters that delays in public works like the MTA’s Fulton Street transit hub would not sap the area’s appeal as a 24-hour destination. “In 2012, we’ll all be enormously gratified,” he said.
The Four Seasons deal and a ground-floor lease at 120 Broadway to Capital Grille, which Silverstein also announced today, both represent the second Manhattan outposts for those national chains.