Brooklyn’s Inn

The Brooklyn Paper
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The same hotel mini-mogul set to open a 115-room Holiday Inn Express on the Park Slope side of the Gowanus Canal is putting the finishing touches on a second hotel just three blocks away.

Together, Sam Chang’s two inns will add 220 rooms to a borough that experts say is losing sleep over the lack of hotel rooms.

“The demand is there,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager for Community Board 6, home to Chang’s two hotels.

Queens, Hammerman pointed out, has 6,000 hotel and motel rooms. Even taking into account the 3,000 that are linked to that borough’s two airports, Brooklyn’s estimated 1,000 rooms are not enough, what with the growing business community and tourist influx.

“Chang told us that Brooklyn could easily fill 1,000 more rooms,” Hammerman said. “He must know the market since he is very successful at what he does.”

Chang’s Long Island-based Mcsam Hotel Group specializes in buying small, strategically located sites in and around Times Square, 34th Street, Chelsea and other tourist areas, according to Real Estate Weekly.

Last month, the company plunked down $6.75 million for a building on Manhattan’s West 44th Street that it will convert to nightly residency. Chang did not return several calls from The Papers.

The Holiday Inn Express on Union Street between Third and Fourth avenues, and the Comfort Inn on Baltic Street, near the Gowanus Houses, are part of a Brooklyn hotel boom.

In addition to the recently opened Atlantic Motor Inn on Atlantic Avenue in Crown Heights that’s being promoted as a venue for visitors to Brownsone Brooklyn, the always-packed Brooklyn Marriott will soon open a 282-room extension, bringing its total number of rooms to more than 600.

Plus, there are hotels slated for the Brooklyn Bridge Park waterfront development and at Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards.

Unlike the Marriott, which attracts business travelers whose companies can cover the $300-a-night rooms, the Holiday Inn Express expects to do most of its business on weekends.

“People have been coming in, saying, ‘Finally! A hotel!’” said Cathy Pascale, director of sales for the hotel whose “express” name does not refer to hourly rates, but to limited services for guests. “We’re already booked for most weekends with wedding groups. I will have to do a little more work to book corporate travelers during the week.”

Pascale said rooms would go for $129-$169, except from April to June and September to December, when rooms will cost $179-$219.

All come with free breakfast, free HBO, free WiFi and a commanding view of several auto-body shops and an abandoned building on Union Street.

Pascale touted the buffet breakfast: “It’s a little more upscale than you usually find. We have yogurt, fruit, hard-boiled eggs. You get a little more protein than the usual carbohydra­tes.”

Eric Richmond, who runs the Brooklyn Lyceum, a performance space and cafe around the corner from the Holiday Inn, wasn’t interested in the food, but said he couldn’t wait until the place opened.

“Are you kidding? They could build 10 hotels and not fill all the demand,” he said.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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