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NEW YORK CITY-Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts plans to open a Manhattan location by 2010. RFR Holding LLC and a client of ING Clarion Partners have agreed to develop and operate the property.

“We searched long and patiently for the ideal partners and property for our New York debut and have found them in this special project,” says Giovanni Angelini, Shangri-La CEO and managing director. “This hotel will be a perfect complement to our high-profile developments under way in Paris, London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Maldives and others. Even more important, we look forward to becoming an active and involved corporate citizen in this amazing city and newly adopted home.”

The 206-key luxury hotel will be built at 610 Lexington Ave, at the site of a former YMCA. The 64-story, 706-foot tall project will have its main entrance on 53rd Street between Park and Lexington avenues. Construction is slated to begin by the end of the year.

“We believe there is no better showcase for Shangri-La’s New York debut than this elegant tower, that will stand proudly along side RFR’s landmarked Seagram Building and neighboring Lever House on Park Avenue,” says Aby Rosen, co-founder of RFR Holding. “Shangri-La operates world-class luxury hotels, and we look forward to working with them to build this great hotel in New York City.”

Plans are already well advanced for Manhattan’s first Shangri-La Hotel. The exterior columns will utilize low iron glass to achieve the desired “crystal clear” appearance, according to a release on the project. The lobby will have a 100-foot atrium in order to create the “sense of arrival” the Shangri-La hotels are known for. High-powered elevators will be installed in the project, which will move guests up at 1,400 feet per minute.

Guest rooms will have floor to ceiling windows, which will offer views of Central Park and Midtown. Almost all of the 206 rooms will be more than 500 sf, with suites totaling more than 1,000 sf. All the rooms will have the traditional Asian style of interior decorating.

Of the 206 rooms, 66 will be put up for sale as condominium hotel units. The top 10 floors will contain 17 “ultra high-end residential condominiums.” They will range in size from 1,500 sf to 3,000 sf. The asking price for these units was not releases. The condo hotel units will be dispersed throughout the hotel and operated as traditional hotel units.

The hotel will also include the CHI spa, an 80-foor swimming pool and sundeck on the ninth floor, a fitness center, a sidewalk café, and second floor restaurant.

The creation of this hotel is part of the company’s expansion West. Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts is looking to open locations in gateway cities, with current development projects in Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and Toronto.

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