Emmitt Smith Punts on Harlem Hotel
Matt Chaban Dec. 21, 2010, 1:33 p.m.
Some people (certainly no one at The Observer — Go G-Men!) consider Emmitt Smith to be one of the best running backs of all-time. So far, his success as a developer has been less impressive, as he continues to run circles around a development site in Harlem.
While Smith and his ESmith Legacy, Incorporated, have not given up on the prominent site at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, where they planned to build a 200-room Hyatt hotel, the team will be holding off for now after ESmith Legacy missed the deadline for roughly $20 million in tax-exempt financing for the Harlem project. Brian Morris, who co-founded the company with Smith, told The Journal that it will look to other funding sources for the long-vacant site, and he remains optimistic. “We fully expect to close on our financing and begin construction in the first quarter of 2011,” Morris said.
Another hotel did manage to secure the funding recently, as developer Jed Walentas won similar financing for a boutique hotel in Williamsburg, despite concerns over the number of jobs the project will create, which is the justification for the bonds.