Hotels

Starwood Capital Site To Start Digging This Week

Shovels will soon start digging for a proposed hotel and condo development in the former site of the Donnell Library at 20 W. 53rd Street, reports this week’s “Sit-Down” subject Steve Cuozzo.

donnell library Starwood Capital Site To Start Digging This Week

Site of the former Donnell Library (photo courtesy of Property Shark)

The $400 million, 45-story tower includes a “super-luxury hotel” on floors 4-12 and condo apartments on floors 14-45. It will also feature 29,000 square feet of library space on the lower floors to replace the Donnell Library, which closed in 2008. Starwood Capital and TriBeCa Associates are backing the 340,000 square foot development.

Orient Express Hotels originally purchased the site from The New York Public Library in 2007 for $59 million. Its plans to develop a hotel fell victim to the recession, and Orient Express sold the contract to TriBeCa Associates and Starwood Capital in 2011 for $67.4 million. Under the existing contract that Starwood took over, the NYPL would receive its space by June 30, 2014.

Starwood Capital and TriBeCa Associates didn’t stop there:

Since then, we’ve learned, [Barry] Sternlicht [Starwood's chairman] & Co. bought a light and air easement from the owners of 666 Fifth Ave. next door for $30.285 million in December.

In January, it paid $16.597 million more for air rights from the Orient-Express-owned ‘21’ Club behind the Donnell site on West 52nd Street.

Also in January, they took out a $63 million mortgage on the site from Mexico’s Banco Inbursa, according to a city Finance Dept. filing.

Tishman Construction has been tapped to build the tower. All of the developments’ plans are still awaiting The Department of Building’s approval. As for the branding of the hotel, Mr. Cuozzo wagers that Baccarat, the luxury hotel group owned by Starwood, will be on the hotel’s marquee.

drosen@observer.com