Manhattan is the undisputed king of the New York hotel market, with nearly all of the largest hotels dotting the streets of Midtown. But one project coming to Queens will disrupt this: the massive Toyoko Inn on its way to Long Island City.
The 50-story project will be located at 24-09 Jackson Avenue and contain 1,260 hotel rooms, which will make it the largest hotel in the outer boroughs and the ninth largest hotel in the city overall. It will be the only hotel outside of Manhattan in the top 10 by room count, according to a data analysis by The Real Deal.
Manhattan’s largest hotels are on a completely different scale than the largest hotels in the outer boroughs. The biggest in Manhattan—and the only hotel in New York with more than 2,000 rooms—is the 2,076-key Hilton at 1335 Sixth Avenue, followed closely by the 1,919-key Marriott Marquis at 1535 Broadway.
Outside of Manhattan, the biggest hotels are barely a quarter of this size. The largest hotel is the LaGuardia Airport Marriott in East Elmhurst, which has 450 rooms, followed by the Radisson at JFK Airport, which has 385 rooms. The smallest hotel to crack Manhattan’s top 20 list? The 702-key InterContinental New York Barclay at 111 East 48th Street.
Most of the top 20 outer borough hotels are in Queens, and the top four are all airport hotels. Brooklyn shows up for the first time with the newly-renovated 280-key Hotel Bossert in Brooklyn Heights, while Staten Island makes its first and only appearance at number 18, with the 198-key Hilton Garden Inn at 1100 South Avenue. The Bronx does not show up at all in the top 20.
Although Manhattan dominates the list of largest incoming hotels as well, occupying 18 out of the top 20 spots, the Toyoko Inn is on top of this list, Besting The Second Place 745-key hotel coming to 1568 Broadway by a wide margin.
Although a recent analysis by TRD found that Long Island City was the most popular spot in the outer boroughs for new hotels, due to factors such as flexible zoning restrictions and proximity to Manhattan, the neighborhood has never seen a hotel on the scale of the Toyoko Inn. George Xu, founder of the Queens-based real estate firm Century Development Corp, predicted that the project’s success will depend largely on pricing, especially given that its rooms will likely be much smaller than rooms at most other hotels in the city.
“I don’t know if the market will support that kind of thing unless the price is a lot cheaper, the room rate is a lot cheaper,” he said. “Otherwise, if you compete with somebody else with a similar price structure, and somebody else is having a much bigger room, the people aren’t going to go to your place.”
He also views the project as a sign that the hotel inventory in Long Island City is fairly tapped out, saying he has no plans to develop hotels there and will focus instead on condos.
Jan Frietag, senior vice president at the hotel data and analytics firm STR, initially expressed disbelief about the size of the Toyoko Inn, saying that the room count sounded “like a typo.”
However, he said the market could theoretically handle a hotel of that size, agreeing with Xu that it would largely depend on room rates. The marketing strategy behind it could have an impact as well, and he said the hotel may focus on catering to tourists from Asia.
“That may be what they’re looking for, is to provide an experience tailored toward people from the Far East,” he said.
Representatives from the Toyoko Inn—an economy hotel chain with more than 200 branches in Cambodia, Korea and Japan—did not respond to requests for comment. The project is still pending final approval from the Department of Buildings, as the most recent plans submitted at the end of March were not approved because the filing was incomplete, which is commonplace for the DOB.