Times Square hotel to double room count, thanks to Starwood Property loan

June 27, 2011 09:10AM

The boutique City Club Hotel at 55 West 44th Street is set to double its room count after securing $36 million in new loans from Starwood Property Trust, according to the Wall Street Journal. City Club’s owners, led by hoteliers Stephen Brighenti, Jeffrey Klein and Russell Hernandez, will use up to $13 million of the financing to build 66 rooms on top of the existing 65.

“Our best-case scenario is that in six to eight months we’ll have [city] approval to proceed,” Brighenti said . “Whereas the original rooms are more traditional, these will be more open and loft-like. Half of the new rooms will have balcony terraces.”

The hotel opened its doors in 2001. At the time, the developers installed steel infrastructure capable of supporting an additional nine floors, the Journal said. The hotel commands an average nightly rate of nearly $300, according to Brighenti.

City Club turned to Starwood when the payment deadline loomed for its $22 million column mortgage, held by Credit Suisse AG’s Column Financial. Starwood agreed to loan owners $23 million to pay off the mortgage as well as a construction loan of up to $13 million to finance the hotel’s expansion.

“Functionally, it’s a bridge loan with a construction loan attached, and it had to close within 30 days,” Starwood Property Trust President Boyd Fellows said. “That’s the center of the bull’s eye for us. It’s a difficult but smart transaction that played to our strengths because we’re flexible and can move fast.” [WSJ]