Monday, January 26, 2009

Flatiron to be a Hotel

Italian real estate investor buys stake in Flatiron building, eyes hotel

Don't know how to feel about this. First the Plaza, now the Flatiron. Not to sound xenophobic or anything, but what's with all these rich people gutting our architectural jewels? I guess this is globalization in action -- and it sucks.

Yours truly used to work in the Flatiron building and, while its exterior is probably the most gorgeous in the city, its interior is drab and dull to the point of being depressing. Besides paying almost $200 million for this building, these investors are going to have to spend a FORTUNE re-doing the interior. Except for the nose of the building, which has a nice view of Madison Square Park, most of the building overlooks Broadway and 5th Avenue, and the views from there are boring. The ceilings are low and the building doesn't get a whole lot of sunlight. Fung shui-ing this building is gonna be hard.

Also, I don't see what makes it a great location for a luxury hotel. It's across from Madison Square Park (which is nice) but the Plaza, Pierre, or Sherry Netherland are right across from Central Park and have amazing views of it. On top of everything, the traffic on 23rd street is crazy and noisy beyond belief. I can't imagine that the guests of this hotel, who will be paying top dollar, will like dealing with that. The Flatiron does, however, have an N-train stop right outside the door so those wealthy guests willing to brave the subway will be pleased.

I'm not good at making predictions but my gut tells me this is going to be one of the biggest New York City real estate debacles ever (even bigger than the new Plaza or Trump Soho). But I could be wrong. Only time will tell.

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