Is it fair for one architect to design 36 hotels in a prestigious urban district like Manhattan, especially when New York is home to some of the finest architects and designers of the world?
Architect Gene Kaufman is designing 36 hotels in Manhattan, including three that will share a single building on West 39th Street near Times Square, right, and three more on West 40th Street.
The developer of most of Mr. Kaufman’s projects is the McSam Hotel Group, which is based in Great Neck, N.Y. Its chief operating officer, Gary Wisinski, said Mr. Kaufman “has a wonderful and deep knowledge of Manhattan, and is well respected at the Buildings Department.”
Fred A. Bernstein of New York Times reports the architecture design trends diverting from aesthetics to economics in Manhattan.
What he brings to the table, he said, is the ability to maximize the number of hotel rooms on a given site. Recently, he said, a client showed him another architect’s plans for a hotel in Lower Manhattan; Mr. Kaufman was able to alter the plans to squeeze in 25 percent more rooms. In the current market, a mid-range Manhattan hotel room — typically 250 square feet — is worth $400,000 to $500,000 to the developer.
To hoteliers, Mr. Kaufman provides entree into the sui generis Manhattan market. But to architecture and to the city of New York, is he providing compromised aesthetics suppressed by self-centered motives of a few businessmen?
Read on: In Hotel Design, He’s Mr. Prolific