Few areas have felt the impact of the current outer-borough hotel development boom as significantly as Long Island City, where the neighborhood’s proximity to Midtown Manhattan – and the widely-reported emergence of Queens as a tourist destination – has prompted a wave of new projects.
Developer Midtown Properties, led by brothers Ian and Robert Cheng, is the latest to get in on the action with a new 10-story, 133-room hotel at 38-42 11th Street in Long Island City.
In a cluttered hotel market that some observers have suggested is verging on oversupply, Midtown Properties is taking a different approach with its project – an extended-stay hotel carrying Marriott’s TownePlace Suites flag.
“In Long Island City, there’s not that many extended stay [hotels] right now,” Robert Cheng told The Real Deal. “We see a lot of regular, standard hotels being built in that area, so the competition is high. That’s why we chose extended-stay. The area needs it.”
The 70,000-square-foot development is targeting business travelers who would be drawn to the area’s proximity to Midtown, via the nearby 7 train, as well as the increasing number of businesses that are setting up shop in Long Island City, Cheng said.
As the extended-stay hotel will cater to patrons seeking up to 30-day stays, the developers hired Brooklyn-based think! Architecture and Design to handle the project and make it “a little more home-like” than your usual short-stay hotel, think! principal Ernesto Vela told The Real Deal.
The rooms will include pantries featuring refrigerators, sinks, microwaves and dishwashers, while amenities at the building will include a lounge, a garden, a gym, meeting rooms, dining areas, a bar and a rooftop terrace.
Midtown Properties acquired the vacant lot at 38-42 11th Street for $2.1 million in December 2006, according to city records, and held onto the property through difficult market conditions over the next few years before it started planning the hotel.
While the Chengs’ real estate interests initially focused on retail, the project represents their second hotel development in the city; their first was a Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites at 116 West 28th Street in Chelsea, completed in 2010. The developers are also planning another hotel project in Chelsea.
Cheng seemed undaunted by concerns over a potential oversupply in the city’s hotel stock, with thousands of rooms set to come online over the next several years and formidable competition from home-sharing giant Airbnb.
The average daily rate for extended-stay hotel rooms in New York City through April was $220.15 — down 3.4 percent from $227.96 through the first four months of last year, according to data provided by hotel industry research and analytics firm STR.
“Overall, the market is still very good,” Cheng said. “The reason why there are so many [hotel developments] is because the market is trending in a good way. If it wasn’t, there would be none.” He even pointed to Airbnb as an example of extended-stay lodging’s appeal, citing how travelers are drawn to the amenities offered by the home-rental website’s listings.
Work on the new extended-stay hotel in Long Island City started around two months ago, Vela said, with foundation piles currently being put in place and hopes for a topping-out before the end of the year.
When the project is completed, likely before the end of 2017, it will stand 10 stories over a traditionally industrial block that will likely see significant changes in the coming years – much of it driven by the hotel sector.
“Just about everything that’s going up there is hotels,” Vela said, noting three different hotel projects in various stages of development “on the same street.”
But think! sought to differentiate the Chengs’ development with a “black box façade” that it hopes will differentiate the building – the architecture and design firm’s first hotel project – from its local counterparts, as seen in a rendering provided exclusively to The Real Deal.
“A lot of the hotels that are going up [in Long Island City] are a little boilerplate,” Vela said, citing their “standard approach to façades and window patterns.” With the new hotel at 38-42 11th Street to be visible from the Queensborough Bridge and major thoroughfares in the neighborhood, “it was important to us to have the building stand out a little more,” he added.