The Moxy NYC Downtown hotel, at 143 Fulton Street, which opened in 2018.
The developers of the Moxy NYC Downtown, located at 143 Fulton Street, have surrendered possession of the property to their mortgage lenders, AllianceBernstein. In a story first reported by the Real Deal, Tribeca Associates—the development team behind several other Lower Manhattan properties, such as the Marriott Residence Inn World Trade Center (at 170 Broadway), the Smyth Hotel and Residences (85 West Broadway), and the office tower at 30 Broad Street—have handed the land lease for the ground beneath the Moxy NYC Downtown back to the lender, valuing it at $108 million. This appears to be in restitution for a $105 million loan that the financial firm made to Tribeca Associates in 2018.
This comes on the heels of developer Leonard Stern deciding in February to hand the keys to a pair of Downtown hotels—the Roxy and the Soho Grand—over to lenders, rather than continue making payments on a $100-million mortgage.
In January, a pair of Lower Manhattan hotels¸—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.
And the Downtown Alliance’s Lower Manhattan Real Estate Market Report for the first quarter notes, the Annaly Commercial Real Estate Group is moving to foreclose and take possession of the 253-room Andaz Wall Street (at 75 Wall Street) from the Hakimian Organization, while the 492-room Holiday Inn at 99 Washington Street went into foreclosure in April.
Also in April, the Alliance report notes, the Vanbarton Group initiated foreclosure auction proceedings on the Assemblage, a 79-room hotel at 17 John Street, over a $36-million loan to the developer—the now-bankrupt crowd-funding platform, Prodigy Network.
Even before the national and local economies stalled, as a result of the pandemic coronavirus, the hotel business in Lower Manhattan had begun to show signs of impending trouble. The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park (at Two West Street) opened to much fanfare in 2002, but was never able to turn a profit. Sold to a new operator in 2018, its name was changed to the Wagner. (The current owner is hoping to exit the hotel business entirely, by seeking permission to convert the structure into apartments.)
The Wagner Hotel at Two West Street
As the pandemic shows signs of receding, many local hotels have now partially reopened. But several appear unlikely ever to recover. And even after the health crisis abates, a protracted economic downturn is widely expected to linger. If this contraction jolts the hospitality industry as similar episodes have in decades past, at least some of the dozens of hotels recently built in Lower Manhattan will not reopen their doors. And others, among the dozen currently in development, may never welcome their first guests.
This market trend is driven, in part, by a factor that predates the pandemic: By any reasonable yardstick, the hotel sector in Lower Manhattan has been drastically overbuilt—the result of nearly two decades of giddy speculation by developers. In the years leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, visitors wishing to stay in Lower Manhattan had essentially three choices: the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel (destroyed when the Twin Towers collapsed), the Marriott World Financial Center Hotel (now known as the Marriott Downtown, on West Street), and the Millennium Hilton Downtown Hotel (on Church Street, opposite the World Trade Center complex).
Today, there are 36 hotels operating in the square mile below Chambers Street, offering more than 7,900 rooms, according to the Alliance. The same analysis indicates that another 12 hotels, containing an additional 1,949 rooms, are currently under construction or in the planning stages.
What might become of such projects, if they prove financially unworkable, is not clear. It is possible (although expensive) to convert hotels into apartment buildings, but a twin glut of residential development is also cresting in Lower Manhattan at the same time. Such a crisis may also create opportunity, however, for community leaders who have long bemoaned the critical shortage of affordable housing in Lower Manhattan. If even a significant fraction of the local hotel inventory were to be adapted for residential use (as has been proposed, in completing plans by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio), this process would likely create a thousand or more new apartments. A campaign to enact incentives for developers to set aside at least some of these units as affordable dwellings could mitigate some of pricing pressure suffered by longtime residents in recent years.
Tony Stark spotted on Fifth Avenue
EDC Moves Ahead with Plus Pool, But Elsewhere
The City’s Economic Development Corporation has followed the urging of Community Board 1 by moving ahead with plans to create a floating pool in the East River. The agency has vetoed the recommendation of Lower Manhattan leaders, however, by choosing to locate the facility in the Two Bridges neighborhood, instead of alongside the Brooklyn Bridge, as CB1 had requested
The proposal styled as “+ Pool” (and verbalized as “Plus Pool”) will consist of a floating dock, surrounding a cruciform swimming hole (with a safety net on its underside), the four branches of which will include a quartet of adjacent pools—one each for children, for lap swimmers, for sports uses, and for lounging. To read more…
City Council Measure Stands to Make FiDi Thoroughfare Pedestrian-Friendly in Perpetuity
The City Council has enacted a law, co-sponsored by member Margaret Chin, that will make permanent the Open Streets program begun by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio as a provisional measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ratified on April 29, the bill is now awaiting Mr. de Blasio’s signature. This measure is significant for Lower Manhattan, because it may have the effect of preserving a local implementation of the Open Streets project, on Pearl Street, where (since last summer) the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has each day restricted vehicular access—between Broad Street and Hanover Square from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and again from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm. To read more…
Mother’s Day on Duck Pond. Mrs. Mallard with Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack. photo: Saul Rosenberg
Explore the diversity of migrating birds that find food and habitat in The Battery. The walk will be led by Gabriel Willow, an educator from NYC Audubon. Gabriel is an experienced birder and naturalist, and is well-versed in the ecology and history of New York City. He has been leading walks for NYC Audubon for more than ten years, guiding new and experienced birders in all five boroughs and beyond. Participants are limited to fewer than 15 people. RSVP is required for participation. Free
Each week features a fantastic family music performer from our star roster leading rocking storytimes and sing-a-longs! Today, musician and illustrator Key Wilde performs. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance. Free Battery Park City Authority
Elements of Nature Drawing
Wagner Park, with its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance. Wagner Park Free
Did you know that there has been a major change to the voting structure and strategy for this election cycle? Ranked-choice voting, accepted by NYC voters in 2019, allows voters to vote for their top five candidates in ranked order. But how does it actually work? Free
Person Place Thing is an interview show based on this idea: people are particularly engaging when they speak not directly about themselves but about something they care about. Guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that are important to them. The result? Surprising stories from great speakers. Host Randy Cohen will be interviewing poet Patricia Spears Jones. Free
Get moving with a series of classes aimed to help you build strength, relax, and unwind. All cardio classes are 45 minutes long, with a focus on high-intensity rhythmic cardio. Classes also feature sprint intervals, sculpting, and a stretch cool down. Free
Namaste! Unwind from the day with outdoor yoga. Immerse yourself in this meditative practice- surrounded by the Hudson’s peaceful aura. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: yoga mat, yoga blocks, water, etc. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance. Free
Additional information about specific State Liquor Authority license applications is available by request to the Community Board 1 Office firstname.lastname@example.org
Landmarks Panel Approves Howard Hughes Proposal for Scaled-Back Tower at Seaport Site
The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on Tuesday approved a proposal by the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) to erect a large building at 250 Water Street, a 1.1-acre parking lot bounded by Pearl, Beekman, and Water Streets, as well as Peck Slip. This site has been the focus of debate, speculation, and controversy since HHC’s purchase of the lot from Milstein Properties for $180 million, in 2018. To read more…
Local Public High Schools Perform Well in National Rankings
The U.S. News & World Report has issued its annual national rankings of high schools, and several local secondary institutions, either located in Lower Manhattan or else attended by large numbers of students from this community, have earned favorable mention.
Stuyvesant High School, located in Battery Park City, was deemed to rank number 44 among all secondary schools in the United States, and seventh among all New York City public high schools. Reviewers noted that Stuyvesant has a graduation rate of 99 percent, that 100 percent of its students are proficient in math and reading, and that 88 percent of pupils there passed at least one advanced placement exam. To read more…
Lower Manhattan Resident Charged with Defrauding Millions from Pandemic Loan Program
A resident of the Financial District has been arrested in connection with what federal prosecutors describe as a $5.8-million scheme to defraud the paycheck protection program (PPP), the federal loans given to small businesses hurt by the economic slowdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcus Frazier, who resides at 19 Dutch Street, was taken into custody on Wednesday morning. Federal prosecutors allege that he filed for almost $6 million in PPP loans, and actually received approximately $2.17 million, based on these applications. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Note to the 22nd Century: PATH Used to Cost a Quarter
Port Authority Buries Time Capsule at World Trade Center
As part of the ongoing celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that agency has buried a time capsule on the plaza of the World Trade Center. The vessel was entombed last Friday beneath the plaza, at a location near Church and Fulton Streets, beside the Oculus. The 16-inch steel container was lowered by Authority chairman Kevin O’Toole, assisted by Robert Alwell, the agency’s longest-serving employee, who started there in 1965.
The Battery Park City Authority asks that the public not interact with or feed the urban wildlife in the neighborhood’s parks and green spaces, and at the waterfront.
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
868 – The Diamond Sutra is printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book.
1647 – Peter Stuyvesant arrives in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement in present-day New York City.
1820 – HMS Beagle, the ship that will take Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage, is launched.
1846 – President James K. Polk asked for and received a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War
1862 – American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
1894 – Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on a wildcat strike in Illinois.
1910 – An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.
1942 – William Faulkner’s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published.
1945 – World War II: Off the coast of Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill is hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of its crew. Although badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U.S. under its own power.
1949 – Israel joins the United Nations.
1960 – In Buenos Aires, Argentina, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who is living under the alias of Ricardo Klement.
1973 – Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times dismissed.
1987 – In Baltimore, the first heart–lung transplant takes place. The surgery is performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz of the Stanford University School of Medicine.
1997 – Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.
1904 – 1989 Salvador Dalí, Spanish artist
1722 – Petrus Camper, Dutch physician, anatomist, and physiologist (d. 1789)
1801 – Henri Labrouste, French architect and academic, designed the Sainte-Geneviève Library (d. 1875)
1852 – Charles W. Fairbanks, American journalist and politician, 26th United States Vice President (d. 1918)
1888 – Irving Berlin, Belarusian-American pianist and composer (d. 1989)
1904 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter and illustrator (d. 1989)
1918 – Richard Feynman, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1988)
1927 – Mort Sahl, Canadian-American comedian and actor
1928 – Yaacov Agam, Israeli sculptor
1940 – Herbert Müller, Swiss race car driver (d. 1981)
1946 – Robert Jarvik, American cardiologist, developed the Artificial heart
912 – Leo VI the Wise, Byzantine emperor (b. 866)
1778 – William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, English soldier and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1708)
1871 – John Herschel, English mathematician, astronomer, and chemist (b. 1792)
1960 – John D. Rockefeller Jr., American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1874)
1963 – Herbert Spencer Gasser, American physiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
1988 – Kim Philby, British double agent (b. 1912)
2006 – Floyd Patterson, American boxer and actor (b. 1935)