Merchants Hospitality to bring Playboy Club to former Out Hotel

Hospitality developer acquired ground-lease on Far West Side property this summer for $40M

The Out hotel and Abraham Merchant
The Out hotel and Abraham Merchant

The Bunnies are back. The Playboy Club is making its return to New York City following a decades-long absence, with plans to open a new restaurant and entertainment space at the site of the former Out Hotel.

From the 1960s through the mid-1980s, Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner’s nightclub operated out of A Space On East 59th Street, but left the city when the trendy spot closed in 1986.

But now Merchants Hospitality Group plans to bring it back to the city at the former gay-themed hotel at 510 West 42nd Street, which the developer is rebranding as a Cachet Boutique hotel with Cachet Hospitality Group, DNAinfo reported.

“Part of the brilliance of Playboy is that their brand is really special,” Cachet president of operations Meredith Gelacek told Community Board 4’s Business Licenses and Permits committee Tuesday. “We will have [Playboy] Bunnies, but the reality is we are going to have a world-class restaurant, and we are going to serve incredible food, [and] it’s going to be incredible service.”

Merchants acquired the long-term lease on the 105-room property this summer for $40 million from developer Ian Reisner’s Parkview Developers, which built the hotel in 2009.

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The hotel, which includes 7,500 square feet of restaurant and common space and a 14,000-square-foot nightclub, had been battling declining occupancy and revenues.

Playboy recently stopped featuring nude women in its magazine and is refocusing on the hospitality and retail side of its business. The company runs a supper club and casino in London, and plans to launch a lounge in Shanghai.

Gelacek said the Far West Side spot would not be a nightclub, but a dining experience.

Hugh Hefner sold the Playboy Mansion earlier this year for about $106 million to Hostess heir Daren Metropoulos. [DNAinfo]Rich Bockmann