Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Diaz: A real hotel will rise near Stadium

Diaz hopes he will be the one to bring
a first-class hotel to the Bronx.
Before this becomes old news, I wanted to give you the article that is in this week's Bronx Press about the first-class hotel Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. wants to see near Yankee Stadium. The Village Voice pointed out that if the hotel takes away parking spaces, it would have to replace lost spaces for stadium events (The hotel will replace a 9,100 space garage that's mostly unused). However, some of the people who were at the announcement said that could be negotiated out, seeing as the garages around the stadium aren't even at 50% capacity.

Also, jump below for the full story, plus a video of Diaz speaking at the announcement.

By Brendan McHugh 

A Bronx hotel would be a home run for the borough, Ruben Diaz Jr. said Monday.

The Bronx borough president announced the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., the economic arm of Diaz’s office, is seeking a developer to build a hotel at E. 153rd Street and River Avenue; the site of an underused parking garage run by Bronx Parking.

“For too long, the borough has lacked a first-class hotel,” Diaz said in front of the garage, just two blocks from Yankee Stadium. Hours before Yankee great Mariano Rivera saved his record 602nd game, Diaz said a hotel would help save the Bronx.

Jump below for the full story and a video.

“I believe it will create hundreds of permanent jobs at the hotel site,” he said, adding all the other positives a hotel could have. “Think about what it would mean to the Bronx economy. Think about what it would mean for tourism here. Think about what it would mean when folks who come in and watch a Yankee game one day, stay an extra night, then they go to Arthur Avenue, they go to the Botanical Gardens, they go to the Bronx zoo, they enjoy one of our three public golf courses, they go to Orchard Beach…” 

The hotel would not only help the borough, but also the struggling Bronx Parking. The garages and lots were only 63% full during game days last season, with an average of 4,000 fans taking Metro-North Railroad and thousands more taking subways. The company owes the city $17 million in rent and real estate taxes and had to raise parking rates last year to avoid default. 

Marlene Cintron, head of the BOEDC, said the hotel would change the way businesses look at the South Bronx. 

“We have an opportunity to begin urban renewal in this area,” she said, adding that local businesses will take this as an opportunity to expand and new businesses will want to come to the area. 

Diaz said many parts of the area have been rezoned to allow businesses to begin “building up” and expand local development. 

“A Yankee Hotel on River Avenue and 153rd Street would be a great anchor for the redevelopment of the entire area,” said Dr. Cary Goodman, executive director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District. 

In the “request for expressions of interest” from BOEDC, requirements for the hotel include a conference center, at least one high-end penthouse level restaurant, a concierge or condo level for long-term stays and a retail component. Developers are also being asked to consider including a Latino Baseball Hall of Fame in the building. 

The parking garage is Bronx Parking’s largest, with 2,411 spots. The leased property belongs to the city, so the hotel would need to be approved by both the city and Bronx Parking’s private shareholders.

Bronx Parking vice president Chuck Lesnick, also the mayor of Yonkers, gave his full support for the hotel. 

“Ruth and Gehrig used to stay at the Concourse Plaza Hotel. In the new day, the visiting teams will stay here, and they’ll be able to gallivant all over town,” he said. 

“People from all over the world will want to stay a stone’s throw away from Yankee Stadium.”

The BOEDC will accept proposals until Nov. 15.

No comments:

Post a Comment