Spain-based RIU Hotels & Resorts plans to launch a new hotel in Manhattan in mid-2015 called Riu Plaza New York Times Square. The international luxury hotelier has purchased 733-763 Eighth Ave. from Glenwood Management Corp. for $111 million.
The area purchased runs along Eighth Avenue and a stretch of West 46th Street, or Restaurant Row. The site’s zoning square footage is 284,000 square feet, including 48,000 square feet of air rights, according to Tribeach Holdings LLC, RIU’s development advisors. Two buildings have already been demolished and one vacant building remains to be demolished. Brooklyn-based Glenwood declined to comment on the deal.
The group’s first hotel, Hotel Riu San Francisco, was opened in 1953 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, by founder Juan Riu. RIU, a third-generation family-owned international hotel chain, has become the fourth largest chain in Spain and the 30th largest chain worldwide, according to its website
“I’ve been looking for opportunities in the city for over 15 years, but it wasn’t until we found this location that we made the decision,” Luis Riu Güell, RIU’s co-chief executive officer, said in an email.
Since its start, RIU has been focused on vacation hotels but with the launch of its city hotel brand, Riu Plaza, in 2009, New York became a desired location, Riu said.
“Once we found this opportunity in the heart of Manhattan, there was no doubt that it was the perfect place for our first RIU hotel in New York,” he said.
Steven Shapiro, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, and Robert Ivanhoe, chairman of the firm’s New York office and chair of the firm’s global real estate practice group, represented the seller.
Jeffrey Weitzman and Xavier Ruiz, partners at K&L Gates in New York, as well as partner John Marmora in Newark, N.J., represented RIU. José Antonio Fernandez de Alarcón Roca, a partner at MONLEXHISPAJURIS, in Palma de Mallorca, also represented the purchaser. In addition, RIU was represented in-house by Elias Gutierrez Rodriguez, a senior legal counsel.
RIU Plaza Times Square will be the fourth hotel in the Riu Plaza line. Renderings of the luxury hotel will be available in a few months, and construction should begin next summer. The other hotels are located in Guadalajara, Mexico and Panama City, Panama along with the opening of Berlin Riu Plaza in December 2013.
The new five-star hotel will have a modern design and more than 600 rooms, including executive rooms, and a restaurant and bar. The hotel will be equipped for business guests but will “mostly cater to leisure travelers,” Riu said.
The New York venture is the “biggest investment ever made by RIU,” Riu said. “With the amount paid for the land, we could have inaugurated a leisure hotel in a Caribbean destination counting the ground, construction and equipment,” he said.
RIU has more than 100 vacation hotels in 16 countries, including locations in Central America and Africa.
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