Vornado considers renovating Hotel Pennsylvania instead of erecting massive skyscraper

From left: Vornado Chairman Steven Roth, a rendering of the 15 Penn Plaza skyscraper and Hotel Pennsylvania
Vornado Realty Trust has put off constructing a massive skyscraper that would challenge the Empire State Building’s height at 15 Penn Plaza, sources told the New York Post, and might even pour millions into renovating the hotel that currently occupies the site.

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With market rents still hovering below the rates necessary to make office development profitable and the financial firms that would make sensible anchors cutting operations instead of expanding, Vornado has decided to hold off on the development. Further clouding the project’s future is the competition rising just west of 15 Penn Plaza, where both the Related Companies and Brookfield Office Properties are preparing to begin construction on Hudson Yards and Manhattan West, respectively.

As a result, Vornado is mulling a complete renovation of the Hotel Pennsylvania that currently resides on the site, along Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd streets. One real state executive said it could cost $30 million just to renovate the hotel’s 1,000 rooms, and millions more to update the lobby and common areas. [Post, 1st item]