A recent New York Post story suggested the Brooklyn hotel boom was going bust. Industry experts, including Sean Hennessey, CEO of Lodging Advisors, indicated more than half the 5,000 hotel rooms once planned for the borough may never come to fruition—at least not in the near future.
The borough currently has around 1,200 hotel rooms, the story said, with about half of those at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. Whether the rest of the planned hotels ever see the light of day, the Marriott has continued to thrive. The hotel just celebrated its 10th anniversary at the end of July, marking a decade of grand success at a project that took nearly 15 years to complete and earned developer Joshua Muss some strange looks as he persevered through delays and doubts.
The hotel, the first and only full-service hotel in Brooklyn, doubled its room inventory to 667 when a 24-story expansion tower was added in 2006. Occupancy rates, General Manager Sam Ibrahim told me earlier this year for the May 15 cover story, have remained around 85 percent through the years. Hennessey, in the recent New York Post story, said occupancy is at 80 to 85 percent in the borough despite the struggling economy.
Projects may be slowed and some even halted in the short term, but I have to think the prospects for hotel development in Brooklyn remain strong when the financial markets rebound. A little more than a stone's throw from Manhattan, the borough is a viable—and potentially cheaper—option for those working on Wall St. or visiting the Statue of Liberty. Plus Brooklyn offers its own unique history, culture and vibe.