The Hilton Hotel chain announced last week that two of their hotel products – the Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inns – will be moving into one of the Oro Towers at 313 Gold Street.
The announcement comes as developer Ron Hershco is completing the first of the two towers – the $400 million, 40-story 303 luxury condominiums building at 306 Gold Street.
Construction on its 35-story sister tower at 313 Gold Street, complete with the hotel, is expected to break ground in September and be completed a year later.
The towers are just off the Flatbush Extension, a few blocks from the Manhattan Bridge, across the street from the MetroTech complex and abutting the Ingersoll public housing complex.
“We are excited to begin work on the brand’s first property in New York City,” said Rebecca Wyatt, senior vice president, brand management, Homewood Suites by Hilton.
“It will certainly become an instant marquis hotel for the brand and will join an impressive group of enterprises that are contributing to the development and refurbishment of Brooklyn,” she added.
Wyatt said the hotel will include about 100 guest suites, configured in a layered tower-style setting in the high-rise building.
There will be separate Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn lobbies on different floors, as well as separate elevators leading to each brand’s guest rooms, she said in a press release.
Hershco spokesperson and attorney Ken Fisher said the deal to have the Hilton on one of the towers has been in the making for about the past year.
The developer started looking at the site after Muss, the developers of the Marriott in Downtown Brooklyn, proved there was a market for high-end hotels in the area, said Fisher.
“Once people became convinced the demand was there, every chain wanted to come in and Ron was approached and asked to consider it,” he added.
The move was also hailed by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), the quasi-public non-profit created last year and charged with overseeing development in Downtown Brooklyn.
“We are excited to welcome Homewood Suites and Hilton Inn to Downtown Brooklyn,” said Michael Burke, executive director of DBP Policy and Planning.
“Having such an internationally renowned hotel that focuses on providing ‘home-like’ service for business and leisure travelers alike is a testament to Downtown Brooklyn’s success as a commercial center, cultural destination, and growing academic center,” he added.
A little less excited was Ingersoll Houses Tenants Association President Ed Brown, who said the call from Courier-Life Publications about the hotel chain moving to the area is the first he heard of it.
“Of course we take it as another threat to our existence in downtown Brooklyn. There’s so much development all around us and it seems like we’re not even being considered in the decisions being made,” said Brown.
“It’s enough already. We’re not being included in any funding to see benefits to any jobs or access to any of the condos. There has been nothing in regard to any assurances to us,” he added.
Brown said he finds it peculiar that public housing tenant organizations in the area haven’t even been offered a seat at the table in regard to all the development in the area.
Fisher responded that Hershco didn’t want to announce anything about the hotel prematurely while negotiations were ongoing.
“We have been in conversations with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for an extended period of time about creating a training and outreach program to recruit area residents for the jobs the hotel will create,” said Fisher, noting it will still be two years before the doors open.
Fisher said he anticipates the hotel will create about 100 permanent jobs, although unlike the Marriott, there will be no banquet services.
“But it’s our hopes and expectations that an overwhelming amount of the jobs will be recruited from around the site. It makes really good sense for the operation of the hotel and the community to have as many employees as possible live close by,” he said.
City Councilmember Letitia James said she supports the hotel as long as jobs go to those who live in the surrounding community.