Main Photo: The Omni Berkshire Place
Date: June 2020
Location: East 52nd Street, New York, NY, USA
Name: The Omni Berkshire Place
No. of Keys: 399
Seller: Current owner is Robert Rowling’s TRT Holdings. Warren & Wetmore built the historic landmark Berkshire Place Hotel in 1926 as part of their “Terminal City” vision. When they received their most famous commission, the Grand Central Terminal, part of the plan was to develop residences and hotels in the blocks surrounding the new beaux-arts terminal, to continue the aesthetic out into the neighbourhood and more naturally integrate the transit-hub with the rest of the city.
Artists and socialites were known to make their permanent addresses here because the rooms and suites were exceptionally large for New York and provided them a residential experience with all the services and amenities of a five-star hotel. In 1942, America’s single greatest writing team, Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein, met and began collaborating on the play that changed Broadway and American musical theatre forever, Oklahoma!. The hotel’s presidential suite is named the Rodgers & Hammerstein Suite in their honor.
The Dunfeys Hotel Corporation (which included Omni Hotels and Dunfey Hotels groups) purchased the hotel in May 1978 and, a year later, gave the property a $9.5 million face-lift. In 1988, Hong Kong-based Wharf Holdings purchased the Omni Hotels chain and in 1995, Omni Berkshire Place underwent a complete historic restoration of more than $70 million.
Buyer: Open to speculation…as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the lodging sector, the Omni Berkshire Place hotel in Manhattan will close for good.
The announcement, made to loyalty members, came from the Midtown hotel’s parent Omni Hotels, according to Bloomberg.
TRT Holdings plans to keep the 399-room hotel property, which is in the rezoned Midtown East district and could be converted to office space. In 2017, New York City overhauled Midtown East’s outdated to encourage office development and renovation.
After stay-at-home orders were issued in March in response to the coronavirus, hotel occupancy rates in the city fell to as low as 15 percent — even as many hotels shuttered and were removed from the metric. Omni has also temporarily closed it’s hotel in Chicago.
National occupancy rates rose to 36.4 percent in the first week of June.
Occupancy rates in New York City improved slightly in May. But after raucous protests were met with a curfew in the first week of June, New York City saw occupancy tick down to 47.1 percent from 47.6 percent in the last week of May. Revenue per available room, a key metric for performance, also fell, from $59.41 to $57.77.
New York City, where hotels were used to temporarily house homeless people as Covid-19 spread through the shelter system. was one of just seven of the top 25 markets in the country where occupancy surpassed 40 percent, including Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Phoenix and Philadelphia.
THPT Comment: Surely the future for office space is even more precarious than for hotels…with the announcements from companies large and small, that working from home may/will be the “new normal” ….Surely we can find a buyer for this historic hotel…When Omni acquired the hotel in 1996, they said “we were taking over a piece of Manhattan hotel royalty”
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