Sitting empty for over a year, the sliver building at 785 Eighth Avenue may soon be known as more than just the Great Wall of Hell's Kitchen. Developed by Esplanade Capital and designed by architect Ismael Leyva as a skinny stack of condos that later looked headed towards corporate rentals, the building now looks like it's coming back to life as a hotel.
Newly amended applications have been filed at the Department of Buildings, and the changes include the addition of "hotel" classification on the Schedule A form. The first floor facing onto Eighth Avenue was previously set aside as "commercial" space, and now it's an "eating and drinking accessory to apartment hotel." An application for a liquor license recently came up for consideration before Community Board 4. That license was applied for by the "OSG Group LLC" and shows that the operation is "d/b/a Graves Hotel," an apt name for a project that's been quiet as a crypt.
Might this be the same Graves as Graves Hotels Resorts, the Minneapolis-based hospitality up-and-comers with a condo-hotel currently rising in Williamsburg? Something to consider, and meanwhile, back in Manhattan, the tower's lobby and entry around the corner at 306 West 48th Street have been unwrapped. Inside is a nearly finished space, outfitted in earthy-toned Mexican onyx from the Onyx Design Group.
Outside, a chunky canopy in stainless steel protects the front door and the tower's angled balconies take a bite out of the Midtown sky. Way up top at the 42nd floor, a space previously set to share two condo units, the entire space has been re-designated in recent filings as an "accessory lounge for apartment hotel," and the space above on the 43rd floor, once listed as a full-floor penthouse and marketed as such by the Sorrento team, has disappeared from the DOB paperwork. Clearly not all the mysteries of this tall tower have been unearthed.
· Schedule A: 785 Eighth Avenue [DOB]
· 785 Eighth Avenue coverage [Curbed]