Marriott Buys The Clock Tower

Monday October 31, 2011



Marriott Hotels has agreed to buy Manhattan’s famous Clock Tower building, making for an iconic hotel location right here in Madison Square Park/NoMad.

WSJ believes that Marriott signed a contract earlier this month to pay $165 million to Africa Israel USA for the property. Marriott is likely targeting the site for its stylish Edition Hotel line, hoping to build fresh momentum for Edition after the brand stumbled coming out of the gate, some people in the hotel industry say.

If Marriott does convert the Clock Tower to an Edition Hotel, it would continue the company’s trend for spending significant sums of cash on new hotels to support the fledgling Edition brand. Marriott has already said it will spend about $400 million to open Editions in Miami Beach and London.

Marriott also joins a long list of big names in the real-estate industry that either owned or agreed to buy the Clock Tower with dreams of converting the 1909 office building into a hotel or luxury residence. The roster includes SL Green Realty Corp., Mr. Schrager, property developer Aby Rosen, and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. Earlier this year, Tommy Hilfiger and a partner signed a contract to buy the building for $170 million. The partners planned to transform it into the designer’s first hotel, with luxury condos, too. But Hilfiger walked away from the project last month. An executive at his private office said “there simply are other projects that may make more sense for us.”

The clock tower was completed 102 years ago for insurer MetLife Inc. and was modeled after the Campanile di San Marco in Venice. At 700 feet high, it was the world’s tallest building until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth building in lower Manhattan.


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