Developers move to demolish buildings to construct 510-unit Times Square hotel

Friedman Group, Landis Group partner on project

A pair of developers is moving forward with plans to build a 510-room pod-style hotel project in Times Square, filing plans to demolish three low-rise buildings near the corner of West 42nd Street and Ninth Avenue to make way for a 28-story tower. Developers the Friedman Group and Landis Group are partnering to build the 220,000-square-foot project at 400 West 42nd Street on parcels they acquired for about $80 million before the market collapsed, Robert Friedman, a principal with the Friedman Group, told The Real Deal.

They filed plans Tuesday to demolish 571 Ninth Avenue, 573 Ninth Avenue and 406 West 42nd Street, all between one and four stories, city Department of Buildings data show.

Plans call for 140-square-foot hotel rooms with a targeted price of $225 per night. The building will also have 38 larger extended-stay hotel units, as well as 25,000 square feet of retail, Friedman said. No operator has been selected yet, nor have any retail tenants been lined up, he noted.

The latest design calls for a shorter building than originally envisioned in 2009, when the developer filed plans for a 38-story hotel. But the total bulk of the tower has not changed, Friedman said. The new hotel increases the number of rooms from 440 to 510 because the building is shorter with larger, more efficient floorplates.

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Micro-unit hotels have taken hold in Manhattan since BD Hotels first opened the 366-room Pod Hotel at 230 East 51st Street in 2007. More recently, Yotel opened a 669-room hotel, with rooms of about 170 square feet, in 2011.

“I think we will see more of the pod-style hotels geared to the lower-priced tourist market in tourist areas,” John Fox, a senior vice president at PKF Consulting, said. The target room rate of $225 sounded a bit high for today’s dollars, he said, but added that room rates are rising in New York.

Friedman was particular in the language he used to describe the size of the units.

“My father would not like me to say they were small. [Rather], they are compact and efficient,” Friedman said.

The architecture firm SLCE Architects is working on a design for the building but did not yet have a rendering available, Friedman said. The project is scheduled to begin construction in the third quarter of 2013, with completion scheduled for mid-2015.

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