Chang may open restaurant in landmarked FiDi church, next to his Holiday Inn

By Adam Pincus | October 27, 2011 12:54PM

From left: Sam Chang and 103 Washington Street (building source: Property Shark)

Budget hotel developer Sam Chang may open a restaurant one day in the landmarked former St. George’s Syrian Catholic Church in the Financial District after signing a 15-year lease for the entire building, he told The Real Deal.

Chang, CEO of McSam Hotel Group, inked the agreement for the nearly 200-year-old building at 103 Washington Street, where the more than 25-year-old Moran’s bar and restaurant closed in July. Chang signed the lease that runs through July 2026, with property owner Brian Lydon June 30, city real estate records published yesterday show.

The five-story former church and boarding house is next door to Chang’s development site where he is building the Gene Kaufman-designed 50-story, full-service Holiday Inn at 99 Washington Street, at Rector Street, that will have 400 rooms, a restaurant and other amenities, a spokesperson for the architect said.

Chang said he had not finalized plans for the leased building, but would probably open a restaurant on the ground floor once the hotel is in operation, which is scheduled for late 2012.

“I took it for the future,” Chang said. “I am leaning toward a restaurant,” but it would not be affiliated with the hotel.

McSam opened restaurants at 125 West 26th Street and 51 Nassau Street, both part of the Holiday Inn brand, over the past three years, he said.

The 8,500-square-foot landmarked building, constructed in 1812, has 2,125 square feet of retail on the ground floor, and rental apartments above, shows.

Chang, who already bought the property’s air rights in 2008 for $3.3 million, said the owners came to him offering to sell the whole building. Instead, he signed the lease for the entire building including its seven residential apartments, but has an option to buy it later, he said. He did not disclose the price.

Property owner Lydon put it on the market in 2008 and that May was asking $10 million, information from shows. More recently, the property was listed on data firm Loopnet with an asking price of $6.5 million.