[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK CITY-With just weeks to go before the new office buildings at the World Trade Center site begin to rise, Silverstein Properties has partnered with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to bring one more project to the area: a hotel and condo development at 99 Church St.

Located between Barclay and Park Place, Moody’s called the site home before moving to 600,000 sf at 7 World Trade Center. As a result of the move, Silverstein and CalSTRS bought 99 Church St. in late 2006 for $170 million, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. Metro Fund LLC, a joint venture between the two owners, is redeveloping the property.

[IMGCAP(2)]With office, retail and residential development growing Downtown, Silverstein turned to one real estate industry sorely missing in the neighborhood: hospitality. “Downtown has a hospitality deficit,” president and CEO Larry Silverstein explained at a Tuesday morning conference sponsored by the Alliance for Downtown New York and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association. “There are currently 400 fewer hotel rooms Downtown than before Sept. 11.” With approximately 2,500 existing rooms, Downtown has less than 4% of all existing hotel rooms in Manhattan, he added.

The new 80-story, 912-foot tower will include a 175-room, five-star Four Seasons in the first 22 floors with an entrance on Barclay Street, and a 143-condo development in the remainder of the tower, with an entrance on Park Place. “When it tops out in 2010 it will be the tallest residential building New York City,” Silverstein said.

Development costs were not released. Construction is slated to begin in June, with a 2011 completion date.

[IMGCAP(3)]Kathleen Taylor, president and COO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, explained that all the signals pointed to the hospitality giant going Downtown: a premiere location, perceptive developer, world-renowned architect and a renewed sense of future in the neighborhood. The city is home to one other Four Seasons Hotel on 57 Street, which opened in 1993.

“Four Seasons decision is a huge sign of change and a vote of confidence on Downtown’s historic role as a world-class business center,” Silverstein said.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects is designing the Hotel and Private Residences. The firm will also design the hotel public spaces and residence interiors. Yabu Pushelberg is the hotel interior designer; SLCE Architect is the architect of record. Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group will lead the marketing and sales of the condominiums.

“The amount of investment pouring into Downtown’s hospitality industry is further proof that Lower Manhattan is now New York’s most desirable and dynamic location,” Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, said. “The significant unmet demand for facilities at every price point–from limited service to luxury to hotels for large group meetings–provides developer with the perfect environment to build exciting new projects.”

According to the Downtown Alliance, there are eight hotels currently under development in the area, which will bring 1,972 rooms to Downtown by 2010. There are another 10 projects, with approximately 1,700 rooms, planned or proposed.

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