A pair of hoteliers hope to re-create Times Square as a "home away from home" for business travelers, reports Lana Bortolot in The Wall Street Journal (4/30/14). Central to this plan are renovations of the former Hotel Gerard, which first opened in 1893, "and the Knickerbocker, which was built in 1906 as a luxury hotel residence." "We prefer renovating over building new … and adding some vim and vigor to the original concept," says Larry Korman of Korman Communities.
Larry will be re-opening Hotel Gerard, known "for its unusual amalgamation of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles," as AKA Times Square. The building, notes Larry, has a "checkered past," having by 1915 "become known for indecorous residents and their activities. It suffered a long decline and was abandoned by the time it was designated a city landmark in 1982 … Echoing its past, the 110 studios and one- and two-bedroom units will once again accommodate long-stay guests."
The Knickerbocker, meanwhile, a "Beaux-Art hotel at 42nd Street and Broadway" built by John Jacob Astor IV, "was a glitzy magnet for celebrities such as tenor Enrico Caruso and F. Scott Fitzgerald before its 1921 conversion into an office building." "Whoever acquired this property has no choice but to do something special as homage to its address and history," says managing director Jeff Daniels. "We’re going to embrace the grandeur it was back in 1906 … with an interpretation of old New York."