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Excelsior Hotel To Become Apartments Following $80M Deal

The Excelsior Hotel on Manhattan's Upper West Side

An $80M deal will see a historic Upper West Side hotel converted to luxury apartments. 

The nearly century-old Excelsior Hotel — shuttered since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 — was sold by longtime owner Harry Krakowski to Emmut Properties for $79.9M in December. Emmut intends to end the 133K SF property’s use as a hotel, instead converting the entirety of the 15-story tower into apartments, Crain's New York Business reports

This conversion would mark the end of one of New York’s landmark hotels; the Excelsior had operated out of the art deco building at 45 West 81st St. since its construction in 1922. Krakowski’s Skyline Hotel group owned the hotel for several decades. 

While neither Krakowski nor Emmut Properties have commented on the deal, Krakowski has been an outspoken critic of city legislation that required hotels like The Excelsior that remained closed through Nov. 1 to pay workers $500 in weekly severance for up to seven months. In previous remarks, Krakowski suggested that the law could force him to sell off properties.  

“This bill is forcing us to make the financial decision to sell our properties rather than lose more and more money every day waiting for tourists to come back so we can reopen,” Krakowski wrote in a New York Daily News op-ed after the bill’s mandated reopening deadline.

Buyer Emmut Properties, a Midtown-based firm led by John Young, has a history of purchasing historic and other aging buildings for both conversion and demolition. While Crain’s reports that The Excelsior’s conversion to apartments can move forward without additional zoning relief, the deal to purchase the property did encounter significant hurdles.  

The off-market agreement, brokered by RMB Properties, required negotiations with the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council to prematurely sever their contract to allow for the property’s eventual redevelopment. The terms of that agreement haven't been reported. 

The Excelsior isn't the first historic hotel property in New York to close in the pandemic’s wake. The Hotel Pennsylvania across from Penn Station closed permanently, and owner Vornado plans to start demolishing the 103-year-old structure this month, while AKA Wall Street in the Financial District is expected to be converted into apartments after permanently closing in 2020.