Double good news for Marriott International Inc. Not only did it officially open its doors yesterday to the tallest hotel in New York — a 68-story property that climbs nearly 753 feet into the skyline at Broadway and 54th Street. But also, the combination Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn joined a growing trend of dual-branded hotels nationwide, an economic response by the hospitality industry to reduce the high costs of building and running hotels by sharing buildings, meeting rooms, recreation rooms and staff.
“I’m certain either one of them would have done fine on their own,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s CEO. “But here you’ve got … an A-plus location, with two distinct products that will appeal to two distinct kinds of stays.”
The 378 Courtyard rooms are on floors six through 33, and the 261 Residence Inn rooms will take up the 37th through 65th floors.
“The idea of building two different brands belonging to the same company – Marriott – gives us an opportunity for huge savings, as far as construction is concerned,” Harry Gross, CEO of Granite Broadway Development L.L.C., both the builder and owner of the property, told Commercial Property Executive.
The $320 million project is the sixth and seventh property developed by Granite Broadway for the hospitality giant. “We have a longstanding relationship with the Marriott going back 15 years,” he added.
But does New York City really need more hotels? According to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a record 54.3 million tourists descended on the Big Apple last year, and even more tourists are expected this year, which should create a healthy demand for hotel space. Gross concurred: “Hotel occupancy in New York is averaging about 88 percent right now; we are barely keeping up with demand. So the answer is yes, we do need more hotels.”
What’s more, Gross told CPE that they have already broken ground for the eighth Marriott project: a mixed-use property in Long Island City that will feature a 160-room Courtyard on the bottom 10 floors and 20 residential apartments on the upper floors, as well as 80 parking spots. Gross has estimated the total cost of this next Marriott development at $120 million.