Future Courtyard Marriott Tops Off on Perimeter of WTC Site
The future Courtyard New York Downtown Manhattan/World Trade Center has topped out at 133 Greenwich St, and framing proceeds apace. It's being co-developed by Hidrock Properties and Robert Finvarb Cos. Situated on the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, the hotel will represent a symbolic return for Marriott International when it opens, projected to be in Q1 2016.
Marriott once operated a hotel alongside the Twin Towers. On 9/11, the hotel’s staff mobilized to shepherd guests to safety. No guests perished, but, “sadly, we lost two associates,” Liam Brown (pictured, at center), Marriott's President for Select Service & Extended Stay Lodging and Owner & Franchise Services North America, told Bisnow. “There is a little bit of an emotional feel to being here,” he explained. “It is very important to us.” Marriott has “great faith” in NYC as a dominant global hub of business and culture, and is excited about the hotel’s prospects for catering to the WTC area’s increasing demand for lodging among business travelers and tourists. “It’s a great hotel in a fabulous location,” he said. “We feel that we should have a strong presence in the City of New York, and this hotel is a good representative of that strength.” Hidrock Properties' chairman Jack Hidary is shown at Brown's left. To his right is Robert Finvarb, founder of Robert Finvarb Cos, a Miami-based real estate and development firm.
Hidrock bought the site in early 2012 for $28M. “We thought the dirt was good dirt,” Jack Hidary told Bisnow at a topping off shindig Tuesday evening. He noted that the initial plan was rooted in faith in the rebuilt WTC’s potential to be an engine for a downtown rebirth. The decision to go the hotel route, and the Marriott partnership, came later, after months of intense market analysis. “We weren’t so clear how it was going to come out, but we took a chance,” Jack said, referring to the WTC redevelopment. “We had vision. We had belief in the American people.”
Jack Hidary is shown here with members of the building's architecture and design team: Danny Forster, of the Danny Forster Design Studio; Peter Poon, of Peter Poon Architects; and Tafadzwa Mwandiambira from PPA. Their design angled and outfitted the building to accentuate views of the WTC site and the reflection pools of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. It will rise to 31 stories and include 317 rooms, a majority of which will look out onto the hallowed space. Hidrock also purchased air rights to the building, so its breathtaking views will be permanent. Jack smiles when he says that on the 28th floor's terrace one can hear water filtering into the reflection pools. “We’re very proud that we had an opportunity to build a building on this site,” Jack said. “We feel that we are a part of the World Trade Center.” The terrace is part of roughly 3k SF of indoor retail space and 800 SF of outdoor space on the 28th floor, which has a dedicated elevator and is perfect for a bar/lounge.
All rooms on the north and west portion of the building’s upper floors (floors 12 through 27) will have floor-to-ceiling windows, to create sweeping views of the WTC site. Here is a snap of one of the model rooms (of course, the decor is subject to change). The building also features a street-level retail space comprised of approximately 2,400 SF; it has its primary entrance on Greenwich Street.
Robert Finvarb (shown here on the 28th floor's terrace with his wife, Rochelle, and Hidrock CIO Eddie Hidary) said that bringing the “power brand” of Courtyard by Marriott to a block on the WTC site’s perimeter “validates this area” in terms of its burgeoning economic potential. Robert recalled how it was Rochelle who urged him to “jump on the next flight to New York when Eddie...introduced me to this idea!” (How does the saying go again? Behind every great man there is a great woman.)
Prior to the topping off festivities, Bisnow got a tour of the building. Here, at the outset of that endeavor, are Michael Powlen, Hidrock's senior director for hotel asset management, and Jessica Donovan, the firm's director of marketing.
Like at any topping off party, there were plenty of flashbulbs. Pictured: Hidrock COO Steven Hidary; Eddie Hidary; Hidrock managing director of development Joseph Ginex; Jack Hidary; Hidrock CEO Abraham Hidary; and Robert Finvarb.