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New York's haute hospitality remains resilient.

Take a walk around Times Square any day of the week, at any hour of the day, and you're going to see hordes of happy tourists. Even after turning the streets into wide pedestrian promenades, it's still difficult to move around because of all of our visitors.

In addition, there are hundreds of office workers from the surrounding buildings enjoying the great urban outdoors. But for every native New Yorker there are dozens out-of-towners.

Last year at this time, forecasts were understandably gloomy. In addition to the local economy, we were anticipating the loss of significant tourist dollars, and all the new and exciting hotel and restaurant projects were in jeopardy.

Well it didn't happen that way, hotel projects on the books continued for the most part and literally dozens of new restaurants have since opened. Clearly, New York is still a prime destination. In fact, the number of home-grown US tourists flocking to the City this year may even exceed the millions of Euro-driven foreign tourists we've been entertaining for the past several years.

More than 47 million people visited New York in 2008, spending an estimated $30 billion dollars. Even if the predictions for a five percent drop prove correct, our streets are still paved in gold.

By the end of this month or, latest, early October, Crosby Street Hotel will open at 79 Crosby Street, in the heart of Soho. The chic Kit Kemp-designed destination will have 86 rooms to shelter a sophisticated demographic. Bigger and equally dazzling, Andaz Wall Street at 75 Wall Street, designed by the ultra cool Rockwell Group, is slated to open a 345-key hotel. The stylish Hyatt brand will offer some of the largest rooms in the city, i.e., 345 s/f, plus over-the-top amenities, corporate meeting space and a restaurant boasting the locavore and market-to-table cuisine of the Hudson Valley.

As previously cited in this column less than a year ago, the "baby grand" of hotels, Chatwal New York will open this month--on schedule. Located in the landmark Stanford White lime-stone manse at 130 West 44th Street, formerly the Lambs Club, it has been given a stunning modern Deco makeover by master architect Thierry Despont. Reminiscent of the glamour of a bygone era will be a 2,500 s/f mezzanine lounge with 20-foot windows overlooking the essence of the Theatre District and a swank Geoffrey Zakarian restaurant.

Another savvy Chatwal offering, Dream Downtown, is slated to debut in 2010. Judging from the success of the Dream brand in midtown, with its ultra-hip modernist design, cool lounges and great service, it's bound to do equally well downtown.

There are a host of new offerings opening downtown in the coming year, such as the much buzzed about Mondrian Soho at 9 Crosby Street, which is scheduled to open Spring 2010. The New York flagship of a hip LA-based boutique hotel, it will be operated by the Morgans Hotel Group, designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, and feature 270 rooms, plus an indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant.

There's even more big scale hospitality debuting downtown with the W Downtown at 123 Washington Street, which will rise 57 floors to encompass upscale urban luxury on a grand scale.

Perhaps the grandest of all is Trump Soho, the controversial condo hotel with 46 stories of luxury, 400 suites with custom furnishings by Fendi Casa and floor-to-ceiling windows from which to view some of the City's most gorgeous panoramas. In addition, the condo/hotel will open a five-star restaurant, Quattro and feature spas, boutiques and art galleries.

Heading back to Midtown, where there's still plenty of action, Fairfield Inn New York/Fifth Avenue opens at West 37th Street with 92 rooms and suites at affordable prices. NoMad Hotel, a conversion of a 1903 residential hotel at 1170 Broadway will be the first LEED-certified hotel renovation in the City when it opens in 2010. Finally, moving a little south and west, the much anticipated Hotel Indigo Chelsea opens at the end of October 2009. The sophisticated, boutique hotel will feature murals and photography by Marco Glaviano.

Among the many and much anticipated September restaurant openings are: Lever House's newest iteration, Casa Lever; another sexy offering at Time Warner Center, i.e., A Voce Columbus; a joint venture by Jeffrey Chodorow and super chef Ed Brown, Ed's Chowder House at the Empire Hotel (44 West 63rd Street); a new face for the Florent space at 69 Gansevoort Street, befittingly named Gansevoort 69; and also in Meatpacking, Abe & Arthur's at 409 West 14th Street. And that's just the tip of the iceberg [lettuce]...

So once again, New York City is opening its proverbial arms to visitors, anticipating great times ahead.

Of course, this city has a history of open arms: 2009 marks our 400th anniversary--a time when the original native New Yorkers welcomed the Dutch to their shores, our first official tourists.

But there's no doubt that the hospitality accommodations coming on line today historically exceed anyone's expectations.

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Author:Hope, Faith
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 23, 2009
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