Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) announced today a redevelopment plan for the 665-room Sheraton Manhattan at Times Square in New York City. The company is exploring a variety of options to maximize the long-term value of this significant asset which occupies 395,000 square feet of real estate, covering a full city block, bounded by Broadway, Seventh Avenue and 51st and 52nd Street near Times Square.
The redevelopment plans will include a hotel flying one of Starwood’s brand flags, in possible combination with retail and office uses. Given the hotel’s incomparable footprint, Starwood has received considerable interest from investors and developers to partner on the project and the company has assembled a project team to assist in evaluating a full range of options and partners over the coming months.
As the hotel is redeveloped, Starwood will remove the Sheraton flag and operate the hotel as a non-branded Starwood property beginning in April. The hotel will remain open as the company finalizes redevelopment plans, and will continue to be a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program. Starwood made the decision to operate the hotel as an independent because the hotel does not currently meet the upgraded standards of the Sheraton brand, which is culminating a three-year, $6 billion dollar global overhaul. As part of the revitalization of Sheraton, Starwood’s largest and most global hotel brand, the brand has removed 32 “off brand” hotels in order to improve its quality and consistency, and reflect a significantly enhanced guest experience.
The redevelopment of the Sheraton Manhattan is illustrative of Starwood’s bullish growth plans in New York City. Starwood has more hotels in New York City than anywhere in the world and currently operates 13 hotels here with plans to open six more in 2010, including two new high-profile Sheraton properties in Brooklyn and Tribeca, the W New York Downtown and the Four Points by Sheraton Long Island City. In addition, the global hotel giant will debut its two newest brands in the Big Apple with the openings of Aloft New York Brooklyn and Element New York Times Square West, bringing its total number of New York City properties to 19. In addition, the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, the Sheraton brand’s flagship New York property, will launch a $90 million renovation later this year.
“Starwood is committed to maximizing the value of its owned assets around the world. The Sheraton Manhattan occupies a highly sought after piece of real estate in a prime location, and we’re excited about the prospect of redeveloping it into a flagship Starwood hotel,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood. “This will complement our existing portfolio in Manhattan’s Time Square area that includes the landmark Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, Westin Times Square and W Times Square as well a the soon-to-open Element Times Square West.”
Beyond New York City, Starwood expects to open 80-100 high quality new-build and conversion hotels in 2010, coming off of the 83 opened and 77 new deals signed in 2009. Of these new hotels, roughly 70 percent will be outside of North America, with the majority in Asia Pacific. And Starwood’s upper upscale and luxury brands are leading the charge, representing more than 60% of the new openings. Among these hotels and resorts is expected to be its 1,000th property globally.