By Michael Stoler
One of the most difficult tasks to achieve during the month of September and the first week of October is to secure a hotel room in New York City. The event, which include the U.S. Open; Pope Francis’ arrival; the UN General Assembly and President Barack Obama as well as foreign leaders like Russia’s Vladmir Putin, Cuba’s Raul Castro and others converging on New York City, make booking a hotel room was next to impossible.
Hoteliers decided to raise the rates of a room especially in Manhattan as well as convenient locations in Queens, Brooklyn and nearby New Jersey. To meet the demands of the more than 55 million travelers, hundreds of hotels are in various stages of development.
NYC & Company reports a total of 178 hotels are in development or have opened in the past three years. They are located in neighborhoods and boroughs across the city, from the Bronx to Staten Island. There are at least 100 new properties planned and in construction, including 15 in Brooklyn, 13 in Queens and eight in Staten Island and the Bronx. The Real Deal reported that since the beginning of the year, a total of nine building permits were filed for hotels in Queens with a total of 894 rooms
Thousands of tourists are taking advantage of lower prices at hotels in the Borough of Queens. In addition to lower room prices, developers are anxious to develop hotels in Queens, especially in Long Island City. A Pratt Center for Community Development study released in March reported that Long Island City hotels have a higher net operating income, average revenue and average market value per square foot than residential, commercial or industrial. The Long Island City Partnership reported this summer that LIC currently has 3,000 hotel rooms in the neighborhood and that 26 more hotels are in the planning or construction phase in the area.
Visitors to the Big Apple are now taking advantage of the newest hotels, which have opened this year in Queens. In May, the 17 story, 183 room, Hilton Garden Inn, opened at 29-21 41st Avenue, followed this summer by the 108-room “The Boro Hotel”, at 38-27th Street, in the heart of the Dutch Kills section. The boutique hotel represents the 26th hotel in operation in this section of Queens.
Later this year, the 54 room addition to the Ravel Hotel, which will be known as Estate at Ravel is scheduled to open. October, 2016 is the scheduled date for the opening of the 22 story, 176 room, Aloft Long Island City, at 27-45 Jackson Avenue.
Construction has been delayed for the opening of the Four Points by Sheraton Flushing and Element Flushing. The Four Points by Sheraton will feature 18 rooms, and the Element Flushing will open 118 rooms. The hotels were announced in September 2013 with a planned opening before the end of the year. According to the company website the properties will open in December, 2017.
A number of hotels are planned to open over the next eighteen months especially in Jamaica. A total of seven new hotels are planned including a number for downtown Jamaica. They include a nine story, 155 room, Four Points Sheraton on 94th Avenue. A few blocks away will be the 224 room Courtyard by Marriott and 114 room Fairfield Inn and Suites are planned for Archer Avenue, near 149th Street. Construction is scheduled to begin on a 24 story, 240 room Hilton Garden Inn, across the street from the AirTrain and the Long Island Railroad Station.
And as reported in June in Queens Tribune, at the site of a former Rego Park Strip Club, a 50 room Wyndham Garden Hotel LaGuardia South, is under construction with a planned opening in the spring of 2016.