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Park Central Hotel project posed challenges for VJB. (Hotel Development).

It was a unique and challenging project. Renovate the 1,000-room Park Central Hotel on Seventh Avenue and 57th Street plus create an entirely separate entity, the 360-suite Manhattan Club, New York's first luxury time-share residence, while allowing the hotel to maintain day-to-day operations during the extensive refurbishment. A daunting task for some, but business as usual for VJB Construction Corporation.

Built in 1926, this grand dame of hotel real estate with breathtaking views of Central Park and the New York City skyline, was in dire need of a facelift. The $70 million budget called for the rehabilitation of the 10,000-SF lobby including marble floors, elegant brass fixtures, coffered sheetrock ceiling and top-drawer furnishings.

The 1,000 guest rooms and suites were to be upgraded with the finest appointments and the latest telecommunication conveniences. The elevator cabs were refurbished, the motors and control service modernized. In addition, the hotel's restaurant and bar, meeting rooms, ballroom, fitness center, all common areas, hallways and rest rooms were renovated as well.

Under normal conditions a job of this magnitude would require if not the total, at least a partial, curtailment of hotel operations during the extensive construction. But, the owners were insistent. There would be no disruption to normal hotel services and absolutely no inconvenience to or disturbance of the hotel guests.

Talk about time management! The construction schedule was constantly being altered and fine-tuned to accommodate the hotel's staff and facilities. VJB Construction management was in constant communication with the individual subcontractors and vendors, advising them when, where and how long they would be able to work on a weekly, and often, daily basis.

Starting from the top, four floors of guest rooms were gutted, then rehabilitated, at the same time. When four floors were completed, the next four were cordoned off, and so on. This assured the hotel it never had less than 85% of its rooms available for guests.

The same juggling of schedules was necessary in the renovation of the hotel's restaurant and bar working a round the clock, at off peak hours, to accommodate meal times and lounge guests. It was a remarkable feat of precision timing and coordination to be able to gut and reinstall a kitchen, capable of serving 200 guests, with absolutely no downtime and no loss of revenue.

In addition to the total renovation of the hotel, the owners set aside a portion of the hotel to house New York City's first luxury timeshare residence. The Manhattan Club's 360 apartments a re beautifully appointed with every possible amenity and convenience including multiple phone lines, internal access data ports and digital television with DVD and CD players.

Timeshare residents and their guests have exclusive use of the club's new fitness center, meeting rooms, restaurants and lounges. An entirely new and separate two-story entrance was constructed on the 56th Street side of the hotel for the convenience of the residents. The impressive bronze entryway is indicative of the first class accommodations inside. The lobby is resplendent with marble floors, wood paneling and antique light fixtures. Two concierge desks are strategically located, one for guest reservations, the other to book theater tickets, dinner reservations or sightseeing tours.

VJB Construction is currently gearing up for the fourth and final phase of the construction. The architect is putting the finishing touches on the blueprints for the upper four floors of the Manhattan Club. These penthouse apartments will be the largest the Club has to offer with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms and large living spaces.

Not every project we take on is as challenging as the Park Central/Manhattan Club construction. But with every project, whether we are building a new hotel or residence or renovating an existing structure, the approach to the job is the same. Every project gets the same attention to detail, the identical personalized service. The top echelons of the firm are intimately familiar with each and every project and involved with the progression of the construction on a day-to-day basis. Our clients can call the office and speak with anyone of the principals and receive a current status report or an informed answer to a question.

That is why we can say, without reservation, "Every construction company cements foundations ... the good ones cement relationships." VJB Construction is one of the good ones.

VINCENT J. BAGNOLI, JR.

PRESIDENT

VJB CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION
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Author:Bagnoli, Vincent J., Jr.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 30, 2003
Words:726
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