Volume 76, Number 41 | March 7 - 13, 2007

A rendering of the completed 23-story hotel.

Super-luxe hotel is being erected on Cooper Square

By Lincoln Anderson

A hotel under construction on the East Village’s edge will embody a new concept of “Downtown Luxury,” according to its developers.

At 23 stories, with 146 rooms, but no name yet, it’s rising at 25-33 Cooper Square at E. Fifth St. The opening is slated for early next year. Peck Moss Hotel Group, led by Gregory Peck, 32, and Matthew Moss, 33, are the developers.

Peck — no relation to the late movie actor of the same name, he assured — said the hotel will feature the most luxurious service and amenities.

“The concept we have for the hotel is something we call ‘Downtown Luxury’ — to design something Downtown, but with a very high level of service reminiscent of the grande dame hotels of Europe,” he said. “We hope it doesn’t come off as trendy, but timeless and mature.”

Peck said the location is a big plus.

“It’s sort of a convergence of several Downtown neighborhoods — Soho, the East Village, Union Square,” he said. “And we’re really excited about what’s going on on the Bowery — it’s going to make it a really vibrant area.

“The hotel’s views are really going to be spectacular,” he added. “There’s not a lot that’s really tall around it.”

Some bloggers on real estate Web sites, however, have mocked the hotel’s white arcing shape, dubbing it “the shark fin,” others even calling it blatantly phallic. But Peck said he and Moss are high on the hotel’s design, which was done by Carlos Zapata.

“Everyone has their opinions,” Peck dismissed. “We think it’s going to be beautiful and a great part of the skyline.

“Our view is if we were building something new, it should be new,” he continued. “I think people will like it — it’s just very sleek. It’s a glass facade, but it will read white: It has fritting,” he said, referring to the specially treated glass.

Rates are projected at $350 to $400 a night, typical for high-end hotels and significantly higher than the city’s $200 average hotel room rate.

The hotel will also have a 2,000-square-foot live-music venue featuring “eclectic music,” a screening room with 30 or 40 seats, “a destination restaurant” and “a couple of bars,” Peck said. There will be a 3,000-square-foot rooftop event space, half enclosed and half open.

The hotel’s clientele likely will be “a lot of fashion- and entertainment-type people,” he said.

Although some neighbors feared the entrance was being planned for Fifth St., Peck said this was never the case.

“The entrance is on Cooper Square — and it always was. And the side entrance is on Fifth St.,” he said. “I think people were afraid there would be deliveries and people coming in on Fifth St.,” he noted.

The project is being built around an existing tenement building, in which two residential tenants declined buyout offers.

“They wanted to stay there and we had no problem with that,” Peck said. The developers purchased the tenement’s air rights, though, allowing them to increase the project’s height.

“It’s all right, because it’s sort of juxtaposing the old and the new,” Peck said of the tenement holdouts. The artist tenants, Hettie Jones — poet Amiri Baraka’s ex-wife — and Kate Abel, occupy the old building’s third and fourth floors. The hotel will use the tenement’s second floor for administrative offices and the ground floor for a library with a fireplace for hotel guests. On Fifth St., to the south of the tenement, will be a street-level garden for the hotel.

When Peck spoke on Feb. 19, the hotel’s steel frame already had been erected to the seventh floor. He said the workers will put up a new floor every two to three workdays and “top out” the building’s frame by this month’s end.

In the industry, the thinking is that the city can use more hotel rooms, Peck said.

“The total number of hotel rooms is about 71,000,” he said. “The city’s been operating at close to 90 percent [hotel room] occupancy for the last two years and there’s no sign of that slowing down. Tourism is at an all-time high. It dipped for a couple of years after 2001, but now we’re back at historical highs.”

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