This afternoon, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office announced an agreement with the InterContinental Hotel Group to hire local residents at its new property at 180 Orchard St. The 295-room hotel Indigo is scheduled to open in the spring of next year.
The deal is part of a larger Memorandum of Understanding between the hotel chain and the Lower East Side Employment Network, a collection of several neighborhood job referral/training organizations. The company has committed to reserving 30% of the more than 100 jobs to be created as part of the 26-story Lower East Side project. According to Speaker Silver’s news release, “there will also be a process that allows for unionization,” through the New York Hotel Trades Council. In a statement, Silver said:
As the development boom on the Lower East Side continues, it is essential that residents throughout our community see tangible benefits… That is why I worked with Hotel Indigo and our excellent local organizations that make up the Lower East Side Employment Network to ensure that our neighbors are given priority for good union jobs when the hotel opens. Making sure residents have the opportunity to advance themselves and build a career is essential to the health and vitality of our community. I want to thank my partners in this effort for their dedication to our neighborhood.
Herve Houdre, speaking for InterContinental Hotels, added:
The Hotel Indigo brand is about celebrating the culture of each neighborhood we are located in, from the contextual design of the building’s architecture to celebrating local artists that will be highlighted within the hotel. There is no better way to celebrate the Lower East Side than to ensure that local residents work at the Hotel Indigo. We look forward to this partnership and to exceeding the lofty goals we have challenged ourselves and LESEN to meet.
The 180 Orchard project was, of course, stalled after the 2008 financial downturn. After construction resumed, there was some friction with local residents over noise at all hours of the day and night. But more recently, construction managers have been working closely with community members to address concerns. Hotel officials will go before Community Board 3 next week, seeking permission for liquor permits on the 14th and 15th floors. You can see their full application here. More info about the LES Employment Network here.