Big year seen for hotel openings, despite few visitors

Nearly 80 hotels with more than 13,000 rooms to debut

Close to 80 hotels with more than 13,000 rooms plan to open in 2021. (iStock)
Close to 80 hotels with more than 13,000 rooms plan to open in 2021. (iStock)

Tourists have yet to come back to New York City, but new hotels are projected to open en masse this year.

Close to 80 hotels with more than 13,000 rooms — the most in many years — plan to welcome their first guests in New York City in 2021, according to the data firm STR, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The pandemic has led to construction delays, forcing owners to push back their openings. But many hotel owners remain bullish on New York City.

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Arlo Hotels is set to open a high-end 489-room property close to Hudson Yards in the spring. Other new hotels — including the 74-room Brooklyn Vybe Hotel and 33-room Baltic Hotel in Brooklyn and the 114-room ModernHaus SoHo — have already opened, according to the Journal.

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The hotel openings can be seen as a sign of optimism for the city, but the de Blasio administration is looking to add a political hurdle to hotel development — a proposal his own staff has warned could cost the city $7 billion in revenue through 2035.

Occupancy is still terrible. In New York, despite many hotels taking rooms off the market by closing temporarily or permanently, occupancy was just 53.8 percent for the week ended May 1, below the national average of 57.1 percent. The city’s hotel occupancy was 89.8 percent for the same week in 2019.

The city’s hotel industry is facing serious headwinds as business travel and tourism have dropped precipitously. Fewer than 37 million people are expected to visit the city this year, down from 66.6 million in 2019.

Some hotels are choosing not to reopen because if occupancy were too low they would be unable to meet their operating costs.

[WSJ] — Keith Larsen