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Emmitt Smith's Harlem Hyatt Meets Local Resistance

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A month ago, the group of investors hoping to build a Hyatt Hotel on 125th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem? including the Dallas Cowboys' Emmitt Smith? seemed on track to get $19.8 million in tax-exempt city financing. But now, reports The Wall Street Journal, the project isn't looking like such an easy win. It faces a local development corporation hearing tomorrow, and City Comptroller John Liu, Council Member Inez Dickens, and others have already expressed "concerns." Such as? The fact that the financing application is full of blanks! Says Liu: "Looking at it for two seconds leads you to wonder if all applications for $20 million of financing have a similar appearance." That might explain a few things, no?
Down in Midtown, there's another real estate investment company with hotel irons in the fire. Hidrock Realty just picked up 960 Sixth Avenue for a cheap $40 million (half of the $105M the previous owner forked over) through the now-standard method of buying the building mortgage and foreclosing. A hotel isn't a sure bet, the Journal reports, if there are interested office tenants. But a 160-room hotel conversion could bring in $300-$350/night, the Hidrock team says. And in this case there are none of those pesky city financing applications to fill out.
· Emmitt Smith's Harlem Hotel Plan is Questioned [WSJ]
· New Plans for Herald Square Offices [WSJ]
· Emmitt Smith Harlem Hyatt coverage [Curbed]