Orient-Express Hotels' NYC Library Deal is Back On
July 10, 2009 at 10:34 AM
Back in '07, we reported that Orient-Express Hotels' was planning to grab a little piece of The New York Public Library (specifically, the Donnell Branch) to convert it into a hotel.
What is currently a five-story libe building on West 53rd Street was going to become an 11-story hotel, but the first floor and underground would have still been owned and occupied by the library. The rest of the floors would have been dedicated hotel space, and five of those floors were going to have direct access to the 21 Club on 52nd street (also owned by Orient-Express).
But then the deal kinda fell apart (that it, progress was halted indefinitely) in March, another victim of the craptastic economy; "lack of availability of credit for construction" were the reasons Orient-Express cited for the holdup.
But! It seems to be moving forward now.
According to the NY Times' City Room blog, things are progressing:
On Thursday, the library said that the hotel chain had “renewed” its commitment to purchase the building, at 20 West 53rd Street, and that the purchase was now scheduled for closing in June 2011. The deal was originally to close in November 2008. When that deadline came, the library and hotel chain negotiated an extension to August 2009, but then the hotel chain suspended payments in February of this year.
Yes, let us reiterate: the purchase is scheduled for closing in 2011. So don't expect to be checkin' into that hotel until much, much later.
That is, as long the vocal Donnell-supporters don't get their way there is a group of former patrons of the library who are urging the NYPL to reopen Donnell (though it doesn't look like that will ever happen, since the NYT is saying the library system can't afford the repairs the branch desperately needs.