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WNYC Back on the Bowery

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As part of its "Main Street NYC," series WNYC is focusing on the transformation of the Bowery. A new feature from reporter Brigid Bergen profiles Roberta Degnore, who a year ago was pushed out of 250 Bowery, which was once envisioned as a luxury hotel. The project, like many others in the neighborhood, is stalled. The report explores some of the reasons why:

REPORTER: Now, over a year later, scaffolding stands in front of her
old building. But there’s no hotel, and no construction going on. Brack
Capital Real Estate still lists a project on for this address on their
website. They
describe it as a boutique hotel…with quote “spectacular views of Soho”,
which means, they were planning to build pretty high. But now the
project appears to be stalled, and no one from the company returned
repeated calls for comment about its status. John Fox is an analyst with PFK Hospitality Research here in New York. He says while hotel development is a 2–3 year process. FOX:
In general, if they aren’t already started, they’re at best long, long
delayed because financing just isn’t available and I can’t conceive
anyone who would start one today. REPORTER: Fox says before the
downturn, industry experts were forecasting a potential for 20,000 new
hotel rooms in Manhattan between 2008-2010. Although he says even in
the good times those numbers seemed like a stretch. FOX: Some of those were just a gleam in the heart of a developer.
He says now…those numbers have been cut in half, because the money to build them just isn’t there.

The story ends in Chinatown, where displacement of residents is commonplace:

A new hotel is going up at 91 Bowery, in Chinatown. The construction
there so destabilized the neighboring buildings that they had to be
demolished. 29 residents and a local restaurant were turned out on the
street. Many of the residents were Chinese immigrants and their
families, who had lived in the building for generations. Unlike
Degnore, they received nothing from their landlord.

You can hear the full report on WNYC's web site.

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