Chic London hotelier buys Williamsburg site for $17M

Property is located in burgeoning hipster hotel hotspot
By Katherine Clarke | September 18, 2013 05:42PM

Ennsimore Capital, the owner of East London’s affordable hipster-friendly Hoxton Hotel, has snagged a prospective hotel site in an ultra-trendy area of Williamsburg.

The group paid $17 million for a sizable 18,000-square-foot site at 93-97 Wythe Avenue between North 9th and North 10th streets, according to public records. The seller was the Sydell Group, the New York City-based owner, developer and manager of Manhattan’s NoMad and Ace hotels.

The deal for the property closed Aug. 28. It was not clear if any brokers had been involved in the transaction. Ennismore did not immediately respond to a request for comment while Sydell declined to comment.

Sydell purchased the site for $10 million in January and had plans to develop it themselves, but the London firm came in with “an offer they couldn’t refuse,” said Neil Dolgin, a partner at commercial brokerage Kalmon Dolgin, who was not involved with the sale but was familiar with the situation. “They took the profit and ran,” he said.

The site is zoned to support a hotel development in excess of 36,000 square feet, according to data from PropertyShark.

If Ennismore takes that route, the new offering would join a burgeoning hotel district in the surrounding blocks that includes Two Trees Management’s Wythe Hotel at 80 Wythe Street and the King & Grove at 160 North 12th Street.

Ennismore has not yet filed any plans for a development with the city’s Department of Buildings. However, the London firm had been actively seeking out prospective hotel sites at home and in New York since it acquired Hoxton last year. The 208-room Shoreditch hotel, which was originally built by Sinclair Beecham, the co-founder of the cafe chain Pret-A-Manger, has proved popular with trendy Londoners, who party in the hotel’s lobby in the evening when it turns into a night club. Staff members don uniforms of plaid shirts and jeans, according to news reports.

The hotel also has a reputation for being budget-friendly and gives away five rooms for just over a dollar a night as part of a recurring promotion.

The fact that Ennismore may be employing foreign capital may have played to its favor when purchasing a site in the U.S., Dolgin said, thanks to a favorable exchange rate between pounds sterling and U.S. dollars.