Rising, Reinvented Hotels By Steven Witkoff Along Times Square’s glittering strip, studded with modern hotel brands standing next to historic icons, a customized boutique hotel is rising: the Times Square EDITION.
Designed to reside at the top of a 39-story mixed-used tower on the Bowtie at Duffy Square, the hotel will be Manhattan’s second EDITION, and one of two EDITION projects in development by Steven Witkoff.
On the opposite coast, his second, the EDITION hotel in West Hollywood, will be the first EDITION-branded hotel on the West Coast.
A collaborative concept merging the imaginative direction of hotelier and developer Ian Schrager with the respected Marriott name, EDITION is designed to be an intimate and individualized experience in a globally expanding collection of boutique hotels.
“I don’t have pride of authorship… I want to work with the best,” he says, noting Laurence Gluck, Howard Lorber, and Fisher Brothers as some of the like-minded investors and developers that he’s partnered with, many of whom he met when he practiced as an attorney in real estate law, beginning in 1986, at Dreyer & Traub and Rosenman & Colin. The firm represented a number of distinguished names, such as Peter Kalikow and Donald Trump. “If you were practicing law as I was back then, you couldn’t help but admire how these guys did transactional work and want to do what they did,” Witkoff says.
His first business partner, who was also a partner at the time at Dreyer & Traub, was his good friend Gluck, with whom Witkoff later co-founded Stellar Management in 1985, before he formed Witkoff. He says he and “Larry” regularly drove up in Witkoff’s father’s old Buick, what the duo jokingly referred to as their “corporate limo,” to New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood and the northwest area of the Bronx to look at properties. The partners’ first joint investment was 76 Vermilyea Ave. Jokingly, Witkoff explains, “We called it the corporate limo because you had to kick the bumper on the front to get the lights to work.”
To rival an oversupplied hospitality market and competition from Airbnb, the firm is lending its assets to the development of boutique-style hotels within repositioned, mixed-use buildings with originative designs. “With that excess inventory and with the negative impact of Airbnb; if you don’t have program in your hotel; if you’re locationally challenged, then you’re susceptible to Airbnb,” Witkoff notes. “We don’t think it will have an effect at the [Times Square] EDITION, though.”