Largest Westchester hotel project in 20 years files for bankruptcy

Debt of $4.67 million includes $715,000 owed to architect Gene Kaufman

D’Wayne Prieto and 115 Cedar Street in New Rochelle (Linkedin, Google Maps)
D’Wayne Prieto and 115 Cedar Street in New Rochelle (Linkedin, Google Maps)

UPDATED, Sept. 21, 10:18 a.m.: A hotel project pegged as a catalyst for the revitalization of downtown New Rochelle just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

A company, WP Realty Acquisition III, tied to a luxury Wyndham hotel planned for 115 Cedar Street made the bankruptcy filing Sept. 11 in federal court. The hotel’s developer is Ward Capital Management, a real estate investment firm based in nearby Dobbs Ferry.

The hotel project — the largest in Westchester County in 20 years — owes creditors $4.67 million, including $715,000 to prolific hotel architect Gene Kaufman. It has assets of $4.1 million, according to the filing.

Ward Capital Management secured New Rochelle’s approval to build a 24-story, 225-key hotel last summer. The project was part of the city’s larger goal to revitalize its downtown area to attract younger residents.

D’Wayne Prieto, the managing partner and CEO of Ward Capital, is the husband of Jewelle Prieto, founder and co-owner of the now-shuttered restaurant and nightlife spot Don Coqui, which operated at the site for years.

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Amenities at the 245,000-square-foot hotel tower planned to include a restaurant and bar, a spa, a rooftop pool and grill, valet parking and conference space. The hotel’s expected completion date was June 2021.

An attorney representing the hotel, Kevin Nash of Goldberg Weprin Finkel Goldstein, did not immediately return a request for comment. Ward Capital Management declined to comment. Court records show the partners in the project are in litigation; the bankruptcy filing could be a means to resolve their dispute.

Hotels have been slammed by the pandemic, as tourism and business travel have been virtually nonexistent since March.

The Courtyard by Marriott in Herald Square just revealed it will not reopen, and a few weeks ago, the Hilton in Times Square also announced it is closing permanently. The 478-room hotel at 234 West 42nd Street disclosed its plans to permanently shutter in a filing with the New York State Department of Labor.

The story was updated to include the LLC that submitted the bankruptcy filing.