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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Getting a room at the W Union Square is about as hard as snagging a seat on a bench in crowded Union Square Park at lunchtime. But there should be some more room at the inns soon in the booming area thanks to a pair of new hotels coming online.
The Gem Hotel, at 52 W. 13th St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves., is slated to open this year with 100 rooms. And an 11-story Hyatt, with 160 rooms, will also be opening its doors this year at 132 Fourth Ave., at E. 13th St.
“It really is a clear indicator that the Union Square market is a strong one, and that hotels see this as an area for development for additional rooms, and we’re happy to accommodate the need,” said Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Union Square Partnership Business Improvement District.
The W remains the neighborhood’s flagship hotel, she noted, adding that the luxe lodging, at 17th St. and Park Ave. South, is completing a full, top-to-bottom renovation.
The BID’s eastern area is also seeing new residential development. In October, developer Charles Blaichman paid Milstein Properties $33 million for the long-vacant lot at 13th St. between Third and Second Aves., which runs through to 14th St., where it has a narrow opening. The property was formerly home to the Jefferson Theater. The deal also included two neighboring vacant lots. According to Falk, it will be developed with 86,400 square feet of residential space as 82 apartments and 5,200 square feet of retail space to be divided between eight commercial tenants. BKFK architects is designing the project, which will sport studios to three-bedrooms.
“This is really exciting news for that end of the district,” Falk said.
There’s also the new residential tower at 123 Third Ave., at the southeast corner of 14th St. and Third Ave., which Falk said she understands is “at capacity” in terms of apartment vacancies.
And at that same intersection’s southwest corner, Falk also is personally a fan of the new 5 Napkin Burger restaurant, calling it “a spectacular new eatery,” definitely an upgrade over the former “uninspired health-and-beauty-aid store” it replaced. “It was not an attractive retail corner,” she said.