By: Benyamin Davidsons
The Novotel New York Times Square has permanently shuttered its hotel to visitors. As reported by Crain’s NY, city records reveal that the owner, Millennium + Copthorne Hotels, has canceled its management contract for the 34-story hotel.
The 480-key hotel first temporarily shuttered with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic in March. At that time, over 140 of the hotel’s employees were furloughed. Now, ten months later, there has been no respite for the tourism industry throughout NYC, with tourists basically nonexistent. Throughout New York, the hotel industry has become devastated and experts predict that even with the initially vaccine rollout, a recovery for the sector may be five years away.
At the end of December, all 225 of Novotel’s employees were permanently laid off. The newly redesigned four-star luxury hotel, situated centrally in Midtown’s theatre district, was purchased by Millennium + Copthorne, headed by Singaporean billionaire Kwek Leng Beng, in 2014 from previous owners Apollo Global Management LLC and Chartres Lodging Group, property records show. Kwek’s company will keep the building at 226 W. 52nd St. closed to the public. The hotel was first built in 1984 by French hospitality group Accor S.A., which owns the Novotel brand. Accor owned it until 2012, and then sold it to the Apollo and Chartres partnership.
As reported by Crain’s, the Novotel New York Times Square is by no means the first Manhattan hotel to permanently shutter due to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hilton Times Square hotel, the AKA Wall Street, the historic Roosevelt Hotel and the W Hotel downtown have all already succumb and closed their doors for good. Several other hotels, including the Gallivant Hotel on 48th and Broadway, are holding on to dear life, with lenders working to foreclose on the properties. Data from Trepp, revealed that the Holiday Inn in the Financial District and the Standard Highline Hotel are both over 90 days past due on their mortgage payments.
Roughly 80 percent of the city’s hotels are undergoing forms of financial difficulty, as per the Financial Times. Hotel occupancy rates in NYC during the holiday season week ending Jan 2, which usually are overbooked for New Year’s Eve events, were at average occupancy rates of only 44 percent, as per hospitality analytics firm, STR. In case it’s of any consolation, NY is not alone in its tourism woes.
Representatives for Novotel and Millennium + Copthorne did not respond to requests for comment.