City squashes plans for new Midtown South hotel

100 West 37th Street
100 West 37th Street

The Department of Buildings shot down a New York hotelier’s plans to erect a new Midtown South location last week, according to city records.

Empire Hotel Group’s proposal to build an 18-story hotel at 100 West 37th Street and Sixth Avenue in the Garment District was denied the same day the group applied to demolish an existing lineup of one-story shops, according to the permit applications on file.

The 122-room hotel would have been the tallest built by Empire, which owns eight hotels in New York City, including the Belvedere at 319 West 48th Street in Hell’s Kitchen and the Pearl at 233 West 49th Street in Midtown. Ron Domb, the president of Empire, declined to comment. Empire bought the property for $10.4 million in 2012, according to StreetEasy.

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The businesses that currently occupy the corner lot, including a computer repair shop and a barber shop, have already lined up new locations, according to a store manager on the block.

Although Empire filed the application with the DOB three months ago, a representative of Community Board 5, which represents Midtown, was not aware of any new development at that location. “There are people that are generally concerned with the proliferation of hotels in this area, but I don’t know about this building specifically,” the representative said.

The reasoning behind the hotel’s disapproval isn’t public information, but a Department of Buildings representative suggested it could be due to a zoning restriction for new development in the area. For example, the building would have reached a perimeter wall height of 171 feet, which is more than the 150-foot-limit that zoning laws for that area impose on new buildings, according to the resolution.