MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — The luxury Omni Berkshire Place hotel in Midtown Manhattan will close permanently due to the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic on New York City's hotel and tourism industries, according to reports.
The Omni hotel chain informed loyalty members of the decision to close the East 52nd Street and Madison Avenue hotel in an email this week, which was first reported by Bloomberg. Omni is owned by billionaire Robert Rowling, who bought the hotel chain in 1996. The Berkshire Place hotel was last renovated in 1995 for an estimated $70 million, according to the report.
TRT will hold onto the building, but it's unclear what the firm may have planned. Both Bloomberg and The Real Deal reported that converting the hotel into offices may be on the table.
New York hotels have been hit hard by social distancing measures enacted by city and state governments that essentially put a full stop on tourism and other forms of travel as the city grappled with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world. Occupancy rates plummeted, forcing many hotels to shut down entirely despite being deemed "essential" businesses by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration.
Hotels that remained open despite high vacancy rates have been leased by the city to house people experiencing homelessness and people who cannot safely isolate in their own homes. In April, a hotel trade group released a study finding that many New York's hotels will need additional federal relief to survive the coronavirus crisis.