The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce hosted a hotel development panel yesterday where participants shared plenty of tasty treats about the hospitality industry’s plans for Kings County. Architect Gene Kaufman, developer Sam Chang of McSam Hotel Group, Hotel Le Bleu’s general manager Robert Gaeta and Heather Parsons of PLC Partners (which is building the 300-room Cambria Suites at 75 Schermerhorn) held forth about the state of Brooklyn’s hotel market. Some highlights:
- Hotel mogul Chang (who built the Comfort Inn on Butler Street, the Holiday Inn Express on Union Street, and is about to start construction on a 200-room Hyatt at Nevins and Schermerhorn) is totally over Brooklyn and pessimistic about the fate of the thousands of hotel rooms currently planned for the borough. What will happen after 3,000 rooms are built? said Chang. “I don’t like it. It’s enough. I’ve stopped buying in Brooklyn.”
- The team behind 4th Avenue’s Hotel Le Bleu has a far less ballyhooed project set to open within the next few weeks. Hotel Le Jolie at 235 Withers Street is going to have rooms priced between $200 and $350 a night, according to general manager Robert Gaeta. It will be Williamsburg’s first hotel, said Gaeta. (Though whether it’s actually in Williamsburg rather than Greenpoint is open to interpretation, we think.) Gaeta also had some strong words for the haters out there who don’t think Le Bleu is going to find takers for its $300-$500 a night rates. I think some of the people writing these blog sites may not be able to afford $400 a night, he sniffed. (You’re right!) Gaeta opined that someday, 4th Avenue will become a boulevard for Brooklyn.
- The credit crunch is going to cause a bit of a shake out for some hotel developers, said Gene Kaufman. The architect (who designed the two hotels slated for Duffield Street) thinks that projects “that don’t make sense won’t get built as borrowers find it harder to finance their developments. And Chang said he’d personally experienced the effects of the crunch because lenders are now looking for 30 to 35 percent equity from borrowers, whereas two months ago they only expected 10 percent.
Duffield Street Hotel Double-Shot Revealed [Brownstoner]
Schermerhorn Street: Not Crappy for Much Longer [Brownstoner]
Hotel Le Bleu Opening Still Stalled [Brownstoner]