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Quick history lesson: in 2006, we first learned about 1 Hotels, a newly conceived brand by Barry Sternlicht, head of Starwood Capital (which is different from Starwood Hotels, though Barry was a former exec at Starwood, and founded the W brand). Locations were planned for Seattle, New York, Washington DC, Scottsdale, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Fort Lauderdale. Lots of hype was made. The NY Times wrote about it.
Then, bad things happened to the economy, Sternlicht's grand visions unravelled like a sweater caught on barbed wire, and pretty much all of the projects sadly collapsed.
Fast forward to last night, when we received an email from Starwood Capital officially announcing the revival of both brands (1 Hotels and Baccarat Hotels). And not just that: a new timeline has been put in place to open five properties over the next two years.
1 Hotel has come a long way in a short time. From the sad, stalled Seattle project that petered out in 2008 to the high-profile Brooklyn development recently got the green light, things are moving along quickly on the new structure.
First off, the design has been revised—the rendering you see above is quite different from the one we originally saw eight months ago. And there's a reason for the change—according to a new WSJ article, owners are now hellbent on making the hotel (and accompanying condos) "blend" in more with the park.
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Back in November, we had gotten wind that Starwood Capital Group (remember folks, this is different from Starwood Hotels) put forth plans for a hotel concept at Brooklyn Bridge Park, specifically the 1 Hotels brand.
For those not familiar, 1 Hotels was pitched by Starwood Capital's Barry Sternlicht (the man who created W Hotels) back in the boom years for the hospitality industry before the economy collapse left 1 Hotels as nothing but a big pile of dirt in Seattle. Literally.
But it's a new dawn and a new day for the eco-conscious luxury brand now that they are coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Despite some heavy competition from brands like Le Meridien, Marriott Autograph Collection, Dream Hotels, Hyatt and Westin, 1 Hotels have won out! This means that, barring any crazy last-minute economy collapses or changed minds, the 1 Hotel dream will actually come to fruition. We're speechless!
Last week, several possible hotel projects were released for the upcoming redevelopment of the Brooklyn Bridge Park area and amongst all the developers and their fancy architect teams competing for the gig, an eagle-eyed tipster pointed out one of the most interesting ones--1 Hotels.
You all remember 1 Hotels right? From Starwood Capital's Barry Sternlicht, formerly of Starwood Hotels? The dreams for the new eco-conscious luxury brand died when the economy collapsed and all that was left was a big hole in Seattle.
But the times must be a-changing because Starwood Capital is dusting off the plans for 1 Hotel yet again. The proposed 1 Hotel, designed by Bernheimer Architects, looks very Standard NYC-inspired (in that it's very boxy) although its location right on the waterfront is very cool. The hotel will have about 170-225 hotel rooms, a restaurant (The Brooklyn Park Brasserie), a cafe (The Daily Bread), a spa, a mini-farmer's market stall right out front and some residences.
Judging from exterior alone, there's nothing that really wows us about the 1 Hotel. Then again, we've long suspected it's what will be inside the 1 Hotel brand that will make them stand out.
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This is what the proposed site for the 1 Hotel Seattle from master hotelier Barry Sternlicht looked like in February 2008. This is what it looks like now, in May 2009. We are struck by how remarkably similar this looks to the set of Parks and Recreation.
Yes, Sternlicht says that 1 Hotels "is still on" yet from past reports, we don't think the Seattle location is gonna make it. But while Sternlicht's talking about building a luxe green brand for the world's eco-conscious travelers, many hotels (both part of larger collections and independents) are already implementing green practices and some new buildings are obtaining LEED certifications. So Sternlicht better get on this fast.
Then again, leaving this lot undeveloped is actually pretty green in itself right now.
More 1 Hotel Seattle site snaps after the jump.
After seeing demolition at the site of the 1 Hotel Washington DC and with Starwood Capital combining the 1 Hotel and Baccarat Hotel brands into their newly formed SH Group, we know that plans to build and open 1 Hotels are still alive, if not moving slowly.
And today, more news affirming the existence of 1 Hotels arrived--we found more renderings of the 1 Hotel Washington DC on the architect's website. (Yes, we know. We are nerds for caring so much.)
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Ah, 1 Hotels. Such a mystery to us. A fantasy, even. But after years of being talked about and planned and hyped up...might you actually become a reality? Barry Sternlicht (who established Starwood Hotels) apparently thinks it's possible even in this economy.
Now, we've mentioned him before as the man behind Starwood Capital's fabled 1 Hotel & Baccarat Hotel brands, two planned luxury chains that ran into some serious funding-related complications and were mostly either delayed or taken out of development entirely.
We'd put 1 Hotels on DeathWatch and were ready to write the brand off as a poorly-timed dream that never really came to fruition amidst the whole economic meltdown. And the Baccarat brand, in the opinion of one source we consulted, "was announced at the height of the market when everyone was frothin' at the mouth. And then the floor fell out before he could get all the cash to start an actual project, just like 1."
Even though all construction on Starwood Capital's 1 Hotel and Residences thoughout the country have been put on hold, we came across new photos and demolition activity on the site of the 1 Hotel Washington DC.
Perseus Realty, LLC, the developer of the 1 Hotel Washington DC recently posted a new rendering (above) of the hotel on their website and changed the project status to "Current Projects." Up until now, we've only seen pictures of a small corner of the hotel and it's been listed as under development since earlier this year.
In the past few years, Atlanta Georgia's Buckhead neighborhood has become the place for new luxury hotel projects, everyone from the Ritz-Carlton, St Regis, Sheraton, W, InterContinental, Westin, JW Marriott is either building a hotel or has a location there already.
The development which really put Buckhead on the map is called Streets of Buckhead, and has high-end shopping, restaurants and condos in addition to Starwood Capital's 1 Hotel & Baccarat Hotel, both of which were to include residences. Now it seems both of those hotels have been taken out of the development.
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We know how Barry Sternlicht loves to surprise and create puns and play around with words: he named W Hotels because it's the only letter of the alphabet with more than one syllable, and W's whole marketing is based around putting W's in their promotions and creating words based on W.
So we shouldn't have been too surprised when 1 Hotels updated their website to remove the Paris and Mammoth Mountain locations, but left the Seattle, NYC, Washington DC and Scottsdale locations and added a new page about One - even though we've heard numerous rumors about the brand being put on indefinite hold.
With a very (very) heavy heart, we are reporting today on something from our sources: Starwood Capital's 1 Hotel & Residences brand is being substantially scaled back.
We mean like.. Instead of the 6 locations listed on their website, and an additional three locations announced since then (Atlanta-Buckhead, Cleveland, Ohio & Vancouver, BC), the world will only see one or two 1 Hotels open in the next few years, as the rest have been permanently or temporarily put on hold due to market conditions.
Our sources tell us that only the Vancouver, BC location and New York City location are still scheduled to be built, although the NYC location will probably not be in Bryant Park.
So two days ago we briefly reported how Starwood Capital and Marine Drive Properties is developing the 1 Hotel & Residences Vancouver Island in British Columbia (that would be Canada), within the Wyndansea development, but it took a day for us to realize just how cool this 1 Hotel location is.