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New Gowanus hotel already at war with rivals

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So much for hospitality.

A brash Brooklyn-bred newcomer to the borough’s burgeoning hotel scene is already calling out rivals, boasting that his soon-to-open Gowanus establishment could put one competitor — Hotel Le Bleu — in the red.

Thirty-year-old Bensonhurst-native Alec Shtromandel says his Union Hotel on Degraw Street between Third and Fourth avenues will be the crown jewel in a narrowly defined market place.

“We are a design oriented boutique hotel geared toward budget travelers,” he said.

The nearest boutique competitor is Hotel Le Bleu on Fourth Avenue near Fifth Street.

“Design-wise, there is a lot to be desired there,” Shtromandel sniffed. “We have beautiful reclaimed artisanal brick and art deco finishes. We are smaller, but nevertheless there is a personal touch that Le Bleu seems to be lacking.”

Le Bleu officials rebuffed the salvo.

“I’m not sure he can judge us without knowing anything about us,” said general manager John Tichacek. “Our hotel stands above them [our competitors] because we have a nicer product and Manhattan views.”

The neighborhood’s hotel scene was booming when we first reported about Union’s arrival.

Cheaper land that does not require costly zoning changes is attributed to the hotel frenzy.

Aside from its proximity to Hotel Le Bleu, Union Hotel will be near a Holiday Inn Express on Union Street and Fourth Avenue, Comfort Inn on Butler Street at Nevins Street, and a soon-to-open Fairfield Inn at Third Avenue and Douglass Street. And three more are expected to rise on President Street between Third and Fourth avenues.

Shtromandel said Gowanus is appealing because it sits at the nexus of several borough hot spots, including Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, and Fort Greene.

And Union has proximity to the Barclays Center basketball arena and Atlantic Yards development — now a selling point for prospective hotels.

“That is definitely a factor,” Shtromandel said. “We are five blocks away from Atlantic Yards, and at some point there will be a lot of new housing, and the arena in 2012 will drive a lot of traffic to the hotel.”

Of course, Shtromandel concedes that NBA players won’t likely be waiting for game time in his 43-room, four story hotel, where rates will range between $129 and $200 a night.

“The rooms are not spacious enough for an NBA player,” he said.

The hotel is expected to open by mid- to late April. A rooftop beer garden featuring local spirits is expected to open by the summer.

Its website touts a vast array of area attractions — some as far away as Queens — but nary a mention is made of the neighborhood’s eponymous canal — one of the most-polluted waterways in the country — is nowhere in sight.

And that’s no mistake.

“A canal that has nothing going for is not an attraction,” Shtromandel said. “Even if it wasn’t a Superfund site, I wouldn’t put it down as an attraction.”

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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I guess this hotel isn't ugly or tall enough for neighborhood standards.
March 3, 2011, 10:48 am
Mike says:
Five blocks to Atlantic Yards? I count 9 or 10. Blatant lie, anyone?
March 3, 2011, 11:43 am
Mike says:
Also, funny how they "forgot" the Fedders boxes in the rendering.
March 3, 2011, 11:43 am
Joey Bots from Bots land says:
Who would want to stay in a hotel in the Gowanus?
March 3, 2011, 1:02 pm
JT from Park Slope says:
Check out the DOB Website for all of the violations on this site.
March 3, 2011, 3:43 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
anyone who goes to stay in a location like that has to have rocks in their head....the area is industrial...go back in 100 years, maybe it will improve...I'm surprised the city doesn't rent it for a homeless shelter.
March 3, 2011, 4:07 pm
Josh from Park Slope says:
Mike,

Those boxes are for PTAC units that are common in all hotels. That block is indeed very nice with a Theater and a Brooklyn boulders.
March 3, 2011, 4:17 pm
Melissa from Park Slope says:
Atlantic Ave and the Arena are actually 5 blocks away and what a great place to stay for those visiting Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, etx
March 3, 2011, 4:18 pm
Gregory from Fort Greene says:
5 blocks to Atlantic yards is just about right.

Douglass, Butler, Warren, St. Marks, Dean, Bergen,
March 3, 2011, 4:26 pm
Mike says:
Regardless of whether you call them PTAC or Fedders, they're indisputably absent from the rendering.

And Melissa (who appears to be affiliated with the developer): You're lying. Period. Degraw to Dean is 7 blocks, 4th to 5th/Flatbush is 1 block. That's 8, to the corner of Atlantic Yards. To anywhere central is 9 or 10 blocks.
March 3, 2011, 4:28 pm
Josh from Park Slope says:
Mike,

PTAC units are usually covered with an architectural grille to match the brick.
March 3, 2011, 4:49 pm
Mike says:
I have never in my life seen an architectural grille that "matches" brick. Maybe it'll be the same color, but it will still stand out, and the rendering definitely doesn't show that. Nice try, though.
March 3, 2011, 5:07 pm
Mike says:
The rendering also claims the windows will be graced by those horizontal members at the tops and bottoms, and that clearly didn't happen either. Looks like somebody either lied on the rendering or cheaped out big time on the construction.
March 3, 2011, 5:09 pm
Josh from Park Slope says:
If you mean mullions, those windows have mullions when I walked by the other day
March 3, 2011, 5:23 pm
Melissa from Park Slope says:
Mike,

It sounds like you are the disgruntled owner of the Le Bleu thats afraid of a little good competition.
March 3, 2011, 7:07 pm
Former CG Resident says:
As a former resident of the area, I would stay there when visiting the "old neighborhood." However, I would never stay at the Holiday Inn again - one of my worst hotel experiences ever. For new construction, the walls are far too thin.
March 4, 2011, 10:30 am
Dominic from carroll gardens says:
Who cares, get lives people. Gowanus needs new business'

Thanks for improving the block.
March 4, 2011, 10:53 am
Mike says:
I mean the horizontal member that spans the bricks above and below the windows. Not sure what it's called. The photo shows that they only exist at the bottoms, not the tops. The rendering claims they are on both top and bottom. It makes a big difference. Too bad the developer doesn't seem to care that the rendering is full of lies.
March 4, 2011, 12:22 pm
Josh from Park Slope says:
Mike,

There is soldiering of brick below and above every window on each floor if you look closer.
March 5, 2011, 7:36 pm
Marshall from Prospect heights says:
They dented my car
March 7, 2011, 2:20 pm
Marshall from Prospect heights says:
It's 7 short blocks, 1 long block and then across Flatbush to get to Atlantic Yards. Melissa and Gregory are likely shills. Headed to DOB site to check violations...
March 7, 2011, 2:28 pm
Mike says:
I don't see any soldiering in the photo, and that's certainly not what the rendering shows either.
March 7, 2011, 3:53 pm
Tony from Park Slope says:
I love how the rooftop rendering shows Times Square in the background..yeah..OK..maybe after a few beers the industrial area will look like that!
March 22, 2011, 9:01 am
Julie from flushing says:
Has anyone been around there lately? have they opened up yet? friends have asked me if can recommend staying there...
April 9, 2011, 3:19 pm
Jeffrey from Park Slope says:
This hotel looks like an old coop building in the actual picture. I think it has no chance to succeed.
April 11, 2011, 12:40 pm

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