In a neighborhood saturated with luxury condominiums but seriously lacking in hotel accommodations finally one company has come along to meet that need — with a little Midwestern charm thrown into the mix.
Graves World Hospitality, a Minnesota-based company, plans to open a six-story hotel and condominium complex on N. 12th Street between Bedford and Berry streets by next spring. The new hotel will boast a rooftop bar with Manhattan views, a restaurant specializing in “food inspired from the streets of the world” and a pool for condo owners surrounded by private cabanas.
Williamsburg Hotel and Residences is the brainchild of James and Ben Graves, whose company combines luxury hospitality services with Minnesota nice.
Ben Graves, who is overseeing the project, chose Williamsburg because of the high presence of a “creative class” and the paucity of offerings in the hospitality industry. He hopes to attract crowds of neighborhood residents to the hotel’s rooftop bar, a Tribeca-style private ground-floor pool and restaurant after it opens next April.
“The one thing we’re trying not to be is a nightclub,” said Graves. “We will have some nice lounges and bars, but they will be approachable. You can build the nicest four walls, but if you don’t have the service to back it up, people won’t come back.”
This vision begins from its rooftop, whose wooden floor planks resemble the walking path of the Brooklyn Bridge, to its restaurant, “Streets,” which will offer a variety of improvised Third World delicacies such as pork banh mi and tripe satay, albeit at First World prices.
The 64-unit hotel is only half the complex, which includes two buildings containing 57 condominiums that have pool access, housekeeping services and a discounted hotel rate for friends and family of condo owners. Graves Hospitality expects that the hotel rooms would go for $300 a night and prices for condos would range between $446,500 for a one-bedroom unit to $1.57 million for a three-bedroom home.
Graves believes his customer base will come from three groups: international tourists looking for a quieter and “more authentic” New York experience, music and entertainment industry representatives in town for business, and parents of transplanted Brooklyn residents looking for a place to stay near their children during visits to the city.
Tourists visiting Williamsburg have had few other options besides Meeker Avenue’s Hotel La Jolie — whose rooms start at $189 per night — and a spate of illegal hotels and hostels that have proliferated throughout the neighborhood over the past five years.
Graves’s timing might be perfect, as customers may need his lodgings thanks to a law passed earlier this year that cracks down on illegal hotels in condominium buildings.
Some residents are skeptical that Graves’s luxury accommodations will clash with neighboring single-family homes and the hardscrabble nature of working industry nearby, but luxury aficionados, such as Bryce Gruber of the Web site theluxuryspot.com, believe the hotel will fit right into Williamsburg’s changing streetscape.
“When parents and families come visit, they don’t want to stay in a dump,” said Gruber.