South Bronx biz groups skeptical of luxe hotel’s impact

436 East 149th Street in the Bronx
436 East 149th Street in the Bronx

Some members of the South Bronx business community are concerned that the Empire Hotel Group’s new Opera House Hotel, the area’s first luxury offering, will not help local businesses or the borough’s lesser-known attractions.

The Bronx Tourism Council and economic development agency SoBRO are optimistic that the 60-room luxury hotel at 436 East 149th Street in Melrose will keep tourists close by, rather than in Manhattan. The operation charges $160 to $200 a night for a room. But many business owners are hesitant to believe hotel guests will spend time or money in the Bronx — beyond the Bronx Zoo and Yankee Stadium — because it is not adequately promoted.

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“I appreciate them building this hotel here,” Vincent Valentino, president of the Hub Third Avenue Business Improvement District, told DNAinfo. “But I really don’t see how it’s going to affect my shoppers or merchants.”

Olga Luz Tirado, the Bronx Tourism Council’s executive director, has begun handing out Bronx pamphlets, instead of solely Manhattan ones. [DNAinfo]Mark Maurer