Midtown’s Row hotel to house up to 600 migrant families

Portion of 700 Eighth Avenue to serve as intake facility and shelter

Mayor Eric Adams and 700 Eighth Avenue (Google Maps, LoopNet)
Mayor Eric Adams and 700 Eighth Avenue (Google Maps, LoopNet)

New York City has picked out the Row NYC hotel in Midtown as one piece of its plan to cope with the growing shelter population and influx of asylum-seekers being bussed from Texas.

The city is eyeing moving up to 600 migrant families into the hotel at 700 Eighth Avenue, three people with knowledge told the New York Post. A staffer told the outlet it will serve as an intake facility and shelter, beginning some time in the next few months.

The Department of Homeless Services is expected to operate its shelter on a particular floor of the 28-story, 1,331-room hotel.

The hotel would continue to operate while serving as a potential shelter for migrants. The Row’s website shows room rates in mid-September, when the shelter could be up and running, range from $300 to $500, depending on the room size and visit specifics.

Local officials last week announced the city was leasing 11 hotels to serve a rising shelter population — it’s not clear if Row is part of that group. That disclosure came months after the city phased out the use of commercial lodgings for children after the shelter population fell.

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A shelter census by City Limits estimated there were 52,000 people in the shelter system last week, up from 46,000 at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, officials estimated the number of migrants to enter the shelter system or visit an intake center to be around 4,000 since May.

The hotel was put on the market in 2019 by an ownership group of Highgate Hotels, the Rockpoint Group and NorthStar Realty Finance. The owners were seeking $220 million, working out to roughly $165,000 per key.

The property opened as the Hotel Lincoln in 1928, quickly becoming one of the biggest hotels in the city. The ownership group bought the then-Milford Plaza Hotel in 2010 from Ogden Cap Properties for $200 million. The owners then embarked on a $140 million renovation to the building.

The owners sold the commercial condo at the base of the building to Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities in 2014 for $64 million. This year, however, Thor lost the roughly 27,000-square-foot space through foreclosure to a debt fund controlled by Paramount Group, which lent $80 million against the property.

— Holden Walter-Warner