World’s Tallest Holiday Inn Files for Bankruptcy
The Holiday Inn at 99 Washington Street (on the corner of Rector Street) has filed for bankruptcy. The 492-unit lodging, which boasts of being the world’s tallest hotel branded as Holiday Inn, closed during the pandemic, causing the business to default on a $137 million loan last March, and prompting lender Wilmington Trust to begin foreclosure proceedings aimed at seizing the hotel.
Since that time, business at the Holiday Inn Financial District (as the hotel is known) has significantly recovered. But debt arrears have piled up faster than customers have returned. In addition to $10 million in missed payments, the lenders are seeking an additional $16 million in fees and penalties, while also demanding that the outstanding balance be paid in full immediately.
That led hotel owner Jubao Xie (doing business under the corporate name of Golden Seahorse) to file in November for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to buy time by halting foreclosure while the business is reorganized and new terms are negotiated with creditors.
This is not Mr. Xie’s first brush with financial disaster. Starting in August, 2021, he missed several payments on $87 million in debt secured by the property, which he was trying to sell for $187 million. That asking price represented a steep discount from the $300 million for which he tried unsuccessfully to sell the hotel in 2017. Mr. Xie originally developed the Holiday Inn in partnership with prolific hotel developer Sam Chang, but assumed full ownership of the business in 2014.
A spokesman for Mr. Xie did not respond to a request for comment.
Two other Holiday Inns in Lower Manhattan have recently met similar fates. In January, 2021, a separate pair of properties—the 113-room Holiday Inn at 51 Nassau Street and the 112-unit Holiday Inn Express at 126 Water Street—was auctioned off to the highest bidder, after the holding company that owned the properties was unable to keep current on $385 million in debt. Before being seized by lenders, both of those Holiday Inns were being leased to the City’s Department of Homeless Services, for use as ad-hoc shelter space during the COVD pandemic.