Over the past decade, developer Sam Chang and his McSam Hotel Group have built an astonishing number of hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and in the process have built up quite the reputation for pockmarking the city with characterless tower blocks that diminish their surroundings. One of the developer’s latest ventures is a 26-story, 566-room hotel beginning excavation work at 334 West 36th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.
Once occupied by the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, the mid-block English Gothic structure was built as the Christ Church Memorial Building in 1905. The savvy developer purchased the 15,000-square-foot site in 2013 for $50.8 million in anticipation for yet another hotel. Local preservationists connected with Community Board 4 to convince Chang to save the church facade and incorporate it with the new building. Surprisingly, he obliged, but the Gene Kaufman-designed structure is not quite a miracle.
An extensive history of the Christ Church’s complex is provided by Daytonian in Manhattan, who notes the complex included an L-shaped parish house, Sunday school hall, Bible-class rooms, library, gymnasium and a “men’s club” with a bowling alley. The Gothic structure expressed the surprising possibilities of what could be squeezed onto Manhattan’s rigid rectangular canvases — a spontaneity in great decline due to our area-based zoning resolution and bottom line construction.
Now with the shell of the impaled church secured, foundation work on the 566-room hotel is moving ahead behind. No word on what hotel flag the building will bare, but Chang told The Real Deal its opening is slated for 2017. Two other budget hotel projects are under construction on the street, another McSam/Gene Kaufman special at 337 West 36th Street and Raber Enterprises’ Crowne Plaza at 320 West 36th, both unfitting of the wedding-cake loft buildings they rise alongside.
- Construction Begins at Gene Kaufman-Designed Gramercy Hotel
- New 35-Story DoubleTree Hotel by Gene Kaufman Coming to Midtown West
- Construction Begins on 40-Story Marriott Hotel Replacing Antiques Garage in Chelsea
Historic photos of Christ Church courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York
Neighborhoods : Midtown West