5-Star Power at WTCJan 30, 2008
The super-luxe hotel – the Four Seasons’ second venture in the city – is expected to open in three years and will include a mix of swank hotel rooms and high-end condominiums in an 80-story tower at 99 Church St.
Designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern, the 912-foot-tall building will be the tallest residential tower in the city and is designed to serve as a bridge between the futuristic style of the planned Freedom Tower and the classic Woolworth Building on the same block.
“The task was an architectural challenge,” Silverstein said of the effort to make the building fit in with its surroundings.
The Four Seasons, which already operates the city’s most expensive hotel, on 57th Street, will include 175 hotel rooms and 143 condominiums in the downtown venture, which is being billed as the first five-star hotel in lower Manhattan.
It will be the first luxury chain hotel built downtown since the Ritz-Carlton opened at Battery Park City six years ago.
Construction of the hotel tower, clad in stone, will begin in June and is to be completed in 2011. By then, the five office towers at Ground Zero are expected to be nearing completion. Silverstein is building three of the new World Trade Center towers.
Silverstein said the arrival of the Four Seasons comes as the neighborhood is going through a transformation from a stodgy financial center that shut down at 5 p.m. to a mixed-use community brimming with new residents, stores and restaurants.
“Downtown has emerged as a prosperous community where the average household income is $242,000,” Silverstein said.
Lower Manhattan is now home to 10 hotels with a total of 2,474 rooms. Officials at the Downtown Alliance said there are now eight hotels under construction, with a combined 1,972 rooms. Another 10 hotels with 1,700 more rooms are planned.
“The amount of investment pouring into downtown’s hospitality industry is further proof that lower Manhattan is now New York’s most desirable and dynamic destination,” said Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance.
Kathleen Taylor, chief operating officer at Four Seasons, said Silverstein approached the company about three or four months ago to pitch the site.
The expansion of several financial firms downtown along with the booming residential nature of lower Manhattan was the key selling point for Four Seasons, Taylor said.
“The overall mix of what’s happening in this exciting part of the world – exciting part of New York City – was really an attraction for us,” she said.
The Four Seasons will go up on the site of the former headquarters of Moody’s Corp., which has relocated to Silverstein’s 7 World Trade Center. The site is now being cleared and construction of the hotel is expected to begin in June. Silverstein will own the building and Four Seasons will operate the hotel and condos.