Shuttered Excelsior Hotel sold for $80M

Emmut Properties snapped up 215-room, 133,000-square-foot property

45 West 81st Street (Google Maps)
45 West 81st Street (Google Maps)

The pandemic may have closed the Excelsior Hotel, but the Upper West Side establishment may soon take on a new life.

John Young’s Emmut Properties picked up the shuttered property at 45 West 81st Street from Harry Krakowski for $80 million, according to the New York Post. RMB Properties had been marketing the century-old hotel prior to the sale.

Neither the buyer or seller have commented on the deal, but Krakowski had hinted that a city law forcing him to pay his laid-off workers $500 per week was pressuring him to sell. The idea of the legislation was to get hotels to reopen, not convert them into luxury housing, which may be the outcome here.

The Art Deco hotel includes 215 rooms across 133,000 square feet. Guests at the property could enjoy views of the American Museum of Natural History and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation. In 2016, the hotel sheltered dozens of homeless people at the city’s behest.

Reopening during the pandemic was always going to be a challenge for Krakowski, however, and recent developments haven’t helped his situation.

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According to the Post, the hotel is facing a $1.3 million property tax bill from the city, which is partially due at the start of 2022. Additionally, Krakowski will need to make severance payments to his employees after failing to reopen the property by the city’s Nov. 1 deadline.

The property’s future is currently unclear as Emmut has not commented on the transaction. The Post noted the developer specializes in converting buildings into residential rental complexes.

Emmut has a handful of properties in the city, but is widely known for 138 Bowery. In 2015, the developer picked up a five-building assemblage in Nolita for $47 million. Plans were filed for a mixed-use building with 46 hotel rooms and 21 residential units.

Emmut ultimately leased the entire 63,000-square-foot building to a hotel operator. Selina, a hotel and co-working company backed by Adam Neumann, in 2018 signed a 20-year lease for the property, which included 90 hotel rooms, 2,000 square feet of co-working space and 2,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

[NYP] — Holden Walter-Warner