Why [Some] Hotels Are Bad for NY
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The report's release coincides with today's announcement of plans for a new hotel in Industry City, the redevelopment of 6M SF of waterfront industrial space in Sunset Park. Over the past 10 years, there’s been a 44% increase in visitors (with spending skyrocketing from $18.5B to $39B over the same period). From 2003 to 2014, 180 new hotels were built, creating an unprecedented shift toward the outer boroughs. There are also 16 in the development pipeline in designated industrial zones.
The Pratt Center says high prices and the high return on investment for hotel developers means the zones won’t do much to keep those areas industrial since hotel developers can almost always outbid industrial users to snag land, and can often build them as-of-right (no special permits needed). Most of NYC’s nonresidential zoning districts let developers build without community input. That can mean projects like hotels going up without any of the money staying in the community in the form of jobs. (Rendered, yet to be named hotel/retail project in Williamsburg to be developed by Zelig Weiss.)
The Pratt Center cites Long Island City, largely zoned for light industry, where 15 hotels have opened since 2005 and residents of local public housing developments aren’t being hired. Requirements for new hotels over a certain size to get permits in Hudson Square and Tribeca are hailed by the report as encouraging but it calls for a citywide requirement.