Old New York: The InterContinental New York

(Photo by Matt @ PEK)
(Photo by Matt @ PEK)


Prominent Dutch-American railroad and shipyard pioneers, the Vanderbilt family, fund the construction of the Barclay on Manhattan’s East Side. The New York Central Railroad develops the neo-Federal style hotel using the air rights of its subsidiary, the New York State Realty and Terminal Company. Caswell-Massey, the oldest perfumer in America, sets up shop as the first and longest-standing retail tenant in the Barclay. Actors and writers including Bette Davis, Marlon Brando, Gloria Swanson and Ernest Hemingway frequent the 14-story hotel in the ensuing years.


The luxury hotel at 111 East 48th Street becomes one of the first buildings in the area to receive power from hydraulic tanks, which are installed in the basement of Grand Central Terminal. The Ivy League Cornell Club of New York moves into the hotel’s entire third floor in 1939 and remains there for 23 years. 


London-based InterContinental Hotels Group purchases the Barclay from its previous owner, Loews Hotels, for an undisclosed price in 1978, according to city records. The hotel, which contains 685 guest rooms, undergoes a four-year renovation at the cost of $32 million. The new owners rename the property the Hotel InterContinental.


Presidential candidate Bill Clinton uses the Hotel InterContinental as his New York headquarters during his campaign. The hotel undergoes another $20 million renovation in 1995, and the property’s lobby and public areas are restored, using Tennessee marble floors and Tiffany-style skylights.


Hotel InterContinental celebrates its 75th Anniversary in 2001 and the hotel is rebranded as the InterContinental, The Barclay New York, in an effort to reclaim the historic property’s roots. UBS Warburg Real Estate Investments Inc. provides a $233.2 million gap mortgage on the property in September 2001, public records show. The hotel undergoes another name change in 2009 to become the InterContinental New York Barclay. 


IHG puts the InterContinental New York Barclay up for sale in fall 2013 and later agrees to a joint ownership deal with a Qatar-based investment group. Deutsche Bank provides a $185 million CMBS loan to Constellation Hotel Holdings to acquire an 80 percent stake in the hotel on March 31, 2014, as Mortgage Observer first reports. The joint owners plan to refurbish the hotel. 

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