When we heard this immediately we thought of developer Sam Chang and his McSam group who is responsible for bringing all these chains into Manhattan. And it turns out Kaufman is designing nearly 90 percent of McSam's hotels. He even did the Duane Street Hotel.
So why is Kaufman so hotly pursued by developers? It's probably because he can squeeze in more rooms.
What he brings to the table, he said, is the ability to maximize the number of hotel rooms on a given site. Recently, he said, a client showed him another architect's plans for a hotel in Lower Manhattan; Mr. Kaufman was able to alter the plans to squeeze in 25 percent more rooms. In the current market, a mid-range Manhattan hotel room -- typically 250 square feet -- is worth $400,000 to $500,000 to the developer, he said.
Of course, that means smaller rooms but Kaufman says he tries to organize the buildings to eliminate "uninhabitable space." So does this include the space between the bathroom door and the toilet? Seems like it.
A prime example of Kaufman's MO is the plan for 39th Street in Times Square. Three different hotel brands--Holiday Inn Express, a Candlewood Suites and a Hampton Inn--will share a single, 36-story building.
In a move that will probably snatch the ugliest building award away from the Westin Times Square, each brand will have its own different facade, on a building that's only 110 feet wide.
So the Holiday Inn Express will be have red and black brick (alternating in three-story stripes). The Hampton Inn will get white and black brick while Candlewood Suites will sport silvery metal. See picture at right for expected look.
And Kaufman is doing the same thing at a property on 40th Street which will include a Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield Inn and Staybridge Suites, each more than 30 stories tall.
So while the outside will look dizzying, inside each brand will have its own signs and lobbies and guestrooms in the brands signature style. The only nice thing we can say about this is that well, if one hotel is sold out you won't have to walk far to check into the next one.
[Photo of Kaufman: G. Paul Burnett for NY Times]