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Hotel Indigo Opens, Long Nightmare Ends For Upper Orchard & Ludlow Streets

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171 Ludlow St.
171 Ludlow St.

Not many people on the Lower East Side are likely to celebrate the opening of yet another hotel. But today’s official debut of the Hotel Indigo (with frontages at 171 Ludlow St. and 180 Orchard St.) is noteworthy for a very specific reason.

Residents of these two blocks were forced to live for more than a decade in a construction zone. These two projects stalled during the recession of 2008. It was years before they were restarted. With today’s opening of the 293-room property from the InterContinental Hotels Group and the opening of the Ludlow Hotel in 2014, the nightmare is finally over.

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Photo: Hotel Indigo's Instagram.
Photo: Hotel Indigo’s Instagram.
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Photo: Hotel Indigo’s Instagram.
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Photo: Hotel Indigo’s Instagram.

In Women’s Wear Daily, there’s a profile of Mr. Purple, a splashy (yes, it even includes a swimming pool) 15th floor restaurant and bar from the Gerber Group. The nightlife consortium operates upscale nightlife spots in six locations uptown.

The company’s CEO, Scott Gerber, told WWD, “I wasn’t really familiar with the Lower East Side,” but when he first saw the space a couple of years ago, he was awestruck by the view. At the same time, the Gerber Group and hotel management are playing up their sesnitivity to local concerns and culture:

That view is certainly worth capitalizing on given how hard a good one is to find any longer on the Lower East Side. The building was approved before 2008, and since then the neighborhood has downsized the zoning and restricted the building of such tall structures. The economy then crashed, and the building sat unfinished until Hotel Indigo took hold. Gerber is acutely aware of the tensions the neighborhood has felt over the past several years as big development has swept in.  “This area was getting very overbuilt, and this community was very protective of their nice little four-story buildings,” he says. “The thing was sitting here unfinished for many years, we came in and said, ‘Look, it’s going to get finished, we’re going to finish it with care.’”

During construction, developers worked closely with local residents to make the best of a bad situation. They also signed an agreement with the Lower East Side Employment Network. There was a commitment to reserving 30% of the more than 100 jobs at Hotel Indigo for residents of Community District 3.

So how much will it cost you to stay in the Lower East Side’s newest hotel? On its website, prices for this coming weekend range from $247-380, depending on the type of room you want. This morning, however, we spotted a deal on Expedia for $199/night.

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  1. With 3 hotels, clubs and bars on Ludlow the DOT should consider changing parking rules in this area. Currently both sides of the street allow parking on weekends which causes major back-ups (and honking) with so many cars dropping off and picking up fares. This would allow space for cars to pull over to the side. Maybe a taxi stand on Essex is a solution. Either way w. this hotel + soho house coming this street is needs relief.

  2. Careful what you wish for, Guest. As traffic experts have proven again and again, adding better access never creates relief. It only invites more traffic. If access were the answer, every time Manhattan added a bridge or tunnel driving would have gotten better, but the exact opposite always happened.

  3. Not sure you can say ‘the nightmare’ is really over since they are only just beginning the mega construction adjacent to this hotel on the south side of Houston St. between Ludlow and Orchard!!

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