The Real Deal New York

Morris Moinian to break ground on $60M Soho hotel

By Katherine Clarke | December 05, 2011 01:50PM

Developer Morris Moinian
of Fortuna Realty Group is partnering with his 28-year-old nephew and son of developer Joseph Moinain, Matthew Moinian, to transform a vacant lot at 525 Greenwich Street in Soho into a $60 million hotel, he told The Real Deal today. Construction will begin on the project before the end of the year, he said.

Matthew, who recently graduated from law school, has not joined the family business but is rather investing in the project as an individual.

Fortuna, which bought the former parking garage site for $12.75 million at auction earlier this year, is in negotiations with various management systems to operate the hotel, Morris said, including the InterContinental brand, which operates Fortuna’s Hotel Indigo in Chelsea. The 60,000-square-foot development, being designed by Japanese architect Nobutaka Ashihara and slated for completion in the third quarter of 2013, will have 124 rooms, he said, as well as a 90-seat restaurant, the running of which will be outsourced. The Moinians plan to charge an annual nightly room rate average of around $400.

“I’m not looking to build a trendy hotel,” Morris said. “I’m going for something extremely comfortable, high-end and low-key.”

The hotel developer
, and head of the private real estate company that developed the Dylan Hotel and Hotel Indigo, said he had been eager to edge into the Soho market and had jumped on the chance to win the site at a June auction. He bought the site from its former lender, the Conn.-based Patriot Group, which foreclosed on the property after a long saga involving an abandoned condo plan by the former owner Greenwich 523 LLC. Eastern Consolidated’s Azita Aghravi and Alan Miller represented Moinian at the auction.

“Demand for Soho is enormous,” he said. “That area’s booming and it’s only going to get better. There is always a shortage of [hotel] rooms. There are not many development sites available in Soho — not enough product.”

The hotel, which has not yet been named, will compete directly with the Mercer Hotel, Grand Soho, Trump Soho and the Thompson Hotel, Moinian said.

It will feature river views to the west and Italian interiors by Los Angeles-based interior architect Marcello Pozzi.

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