Monday, December 29, 2008

Hotel Reserve now ready for your, uh, reservation

The Hotel Reserve opened earlier this month on Nassau Street at Maiden Lane in the Financial District. It was originally reported that this would be a Wyndham Garden Hotel. But Hotel Reserve has such a more local flavor given that the Federal Reserve is directly across the street.

Pretty spiffy design...The hotel is L-shaped and wraps around three low-rise buildings that sit on the corner of Maiden and Nassau.

So why did they do something seemingly so complicated? According to an article from October 2007 in the Times titled New buildings that embrace the old:

These challenges pale in comparison with the difficulties faced by Gene Kaufman, an architect who designed a 113-room hotel that is being built just a few blocks from Wall Street.

This L-shaped hotel, which will be a Wyndham, will have entrances at 51 Nassau Street — opposite the New York Federal Reserve Building — and 20 Maiden Lane. But its longest street frontage will actually be in a dark, narrow one-block alley called Liberty Place.

The hotel is being built on this odd-shaped lot because it has to encompass three low-rise buildings on the corner of Nassau Street and Maiden Lane that the developer, the McSam Hotel Group, was unable to acquire. These buildings all had commercial tenants with long leases who could not be enticed to leave, Mr. Kaufman said.

These old buildings were in very bad condition, so we had to be careful not to create any vibrations that could damage them,” Mr. Kaufman said. But, he said, that was just the beginning of his headaches.

For one thing, the New York City subway system passes directly beneath this site, and it has ventilation shafts on all three sides of the building. This meant the developer had to dig deeper for the foundation. But as the excavation began, he discovered that the three older buildings had foundations extending into the property lines for the hotel.

“We’ve wrapped around little buildings before; we’ve built against the subway before; we’ve built on narrow sites before,” Mr. Kaufman said. But never all at once. “It was like fitting a diamond into a setting,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Win Won on Liberty Place survived all the construction.

Here's what it looked like in late spring.

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