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This morning we speculated that another Ace Hotel is coming to New York City. But surprise, surprise! Instead of the Big Apple getting its second Ace, the city will now be home to SIX Thompson Hotels.
Not long after our story went up this morning, Thompson Hotels, which is a part of Commune Hotels and Resorts, went live with their announcement for the management contract of 5 Beekman, which included a statement from building owner:
“With its deep New York lifestyle hotel experience and growing international presence, we’re delighted to have chosen Thompson Hotels, an operator uniquely suited to capture the building’s inherent drama. We relish the opportunity to transform this one-of-a-kind building and adjacent parcel into a 297 room luxury boutique hotel with 90 residences” said Bruce Blum, president and co-founder of GB Lodging.
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What do you get when you merge The Custom Hotel with The Hollywood Roosevelt? JT HOSPITALITY. Note: JT is not actually involved in this one.
When we got an email in our inboxes a short while ago with the subject heading, "JOIE DE VIVRE HOSPITALITY AND THOMPSON HOTELS MERGE" we thought for sure someone was playing a prank on us. Or maybe that someone was celebrating April Fools Day six months early.
But given that the news came from JDV's director of public relations, we knew that this was no joke. So now let's get into the details of this seemingly unholy merger.
The merger took effect on October 1st and it is purely a management partnership involving only hotel management operations but not real estate assets. Together, the company will now be known as JT Hospitality (did anyone just think of Justin Timberlake? We did.) and will manage 45 properties under the Thompson and JDV brands. The company is set to be officially announced/rebranded in early 2012 when the global branding strategy is rolled out.
Thompson's CEO and co-owner Stephen Brandman has been named CEO of JT Hospitality and the company will be headquartered in NYC. John Pritzker, whose private equity firm, Geolo Capital, took a majority stake in JDV last year, will serve as co-chairman as will Jason Pomeranc, Thompson Hotel's other co-owner and poster boy.
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When Thompson Hotels peaced out of the Sagamore Hotel in South Beach way back when, they got busy expanding their hotel collection elsewhere--New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago and even London. But now Jason Pomeranc and co. are strapping on their roller blades and coasting along Ocean Drive once again.
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The old Sheraton Belgravia is getting Thompson-ized!
Summer 2011 will bring the 85-room Belgraves, a joint venture with the Hong Kong-based Harilela Group, located in London's Belgravia neighborhood. Interiors will be done by British designer Tara Bernerd and the architectural design by EPR Architects.
Absolutely rabid for more details, we hit up Thompson's other co-owner Stephen Brandman for more details and this is what he said:
We've learned from Thompson Hotels' co-owner Stephen Brandman that the 24-hour restaurant/diner, Counter, will open on June 19th. Toronto Life's The Dish has some more detes on the look of the joint which will serve artisanal beers and burgers as well as breakfast and lunch dishes.
Until the 19th, guests will be able to order delivery from local joints to their room. In the mornings, there are muffins and coffee in the lobby.
When we last checked in with Thompson Toronto, it was June and they were hinting at a 2010 opening. Judging from Thompson's past hotel opening delays we figured Summer 2010 would be a kind estimate. But Thompson co-owner Stephen Brandman has told us they are looking at March 2010 and they seem very confident in that date.
Now, the old adage says "March comes in like a lion but goes out like a lamb" yet we say that with the Thompson's penchant for soft-openings, TT will come in like a lamb and go out like a lion in June or so, when the rooftop bar and pool are ready to open.
Meanwhile, the Thompson Hotels website still says "Opening 2009."
Room 1433 at Hotel Sax Chicago.
We received a couple of tips lately that there was something brewing with Thompson Hotels and usually when more than one tip comes in, we know something's up. But today we have confirmation that indeed The Hotel Sax in Chicago, best known for its RockBand studio and where we recently shacked up the other week, is turning into a Thompson Hotel.
The conversion will officially happen on December 1st and while the hotel was recently renovated a few years ago, we fully expect the place to get "Thompsonized."
Big news out of Thompson today. First up: remember how we reported on some cha-cha-cha changes at Cha inside the Donovan House, near and dear to our hearts because of a Hanson sighting and some delish sushi? We knew Todd English was out and Toronto chef Susur Lee was in (the same chef behind Shang at the Thompson LES), but we didn't know the name was changing too.
'Cha' is now 'Zentan', and "the menu will feature favorites from Shang in NYC and his restaurant, Lee in Toronto, as well as a selection of sushi, sashimi and Asian crudos." The new Zentan is set to open June 8, 2009, and until then, you can still snag sushi and small bites at the bar like we did.
On the East Coast, New Yorkers are not happy with Thompson Hotels due to their failure to open Smyth Tribeca in a timely fashion or open it at all, really. We're not sure if they're adding finishing touches or what. Meanwhile, over on the West Coast, some people are unhappy with Thompson because they've been making too many, er, "finishing touches" to the Hollywood Roosevelt building. And by "finishing touches," we mean plastering the architectural landmark building with ads for a Swedish clothing company. Whoops!
From LA's CityWatch blog:
The Hollywood Roosevelt first sported huge supergraphic ads in 2006. The company that installed these 6,000 sq. ft. plus ads, In Plain Site Media, was cited by the city’s Department of Building and Safety for failing to obtain permits or inspections for the signs. The company then applied to the city for permits. Last July, the Cultural Heritage Commission voted to deny the application, but one of the supergraphic sign still remains on the east side of the building.
It's an H&M ad! Come on, who doesn't love H&M?
Some people, apparently. The blog actually provides Stephen Brandman's email addy, and the author encourages people who are unhappy with the "owners' custodianship of an historic building" to voice their concerns to Brandman directly. While we're sure the B-man will read and respond to those emails, we're going to go ahead and throw out a bit of unsolicited advice here: maybe wait until Smyth Tribeca is up and running you may get a better response once the opening-delay crisis is over with.
Cornell University's renowned School of Hotel Administration (full disclosure: this HC-er's alma mater, where she learned everything she knows about hotels that the Internet couldn't teach her) has just announced a partnership between its Center for Hospitality Research and Thompson Hotels.
Thompson's co-owner, Stephen Brandman, will now sit on the research center's advisory board, contributing his insights and hopefully sharing the secrets to the "sophisticated but personal approach to service" Thompson is known for.
Turning the Cornell Hotel School into a breeding ground for baby Jason P's, perhaps? Maybe...
That's right. Thompson Hotels, having finished with their monopoly on New York, is expanding overseas to Seoul, Korea.
We have to say, this destination is shocking. We thought for sure a London property was in the works. Yet today a press release was making the rounds of the interweb that Jason Pomeranc and co. are heading off to Seoul.
A travel blog called Travel Blog is reporting that Jason Pomeranc and co. was involved in the group that was set to buy Hooters Casino Hotel. As we reported this morning, that group failed to make a payment by June 6 and the entire deal went through.
However, we got a call from Stephen Brandman, a Thompson Hotels co-owner who adamantly insisted that Thompson Hotels and Jason Pomeranc were not involved at anytime with this project. Brandman counters:
We haven't looked at it. We haven't walked by it. We have nothing to do with that project.
Of course, that isn't to say that Thompson isn't looking to expand in Vegas anymore. The interest is still very much there. When and where, however, have yet to be determined.
Update 6/12/08: Turns out David Landsel of the New York Post was the original source of the "is/was associated with Jason Pomeranc's Thompson Hotels" claim we talk about above.