Hotel’s mysterious clock feature sets off alarms

The Hotel Indigo at 8-12 Maiden Lane plans to turn its lights on and off based on the time of day.

The Hotel Indigo at 8-12 Maiden Lane plans to turn its lights on and off based on the time of day.

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC  |  A new Financial District hotel has plans to use its top floors as an illuminated watch as a floor will be lit every hour — and nearby residents are not happy.

The 24-story Hotel Indigo at 8-12 Maiden Lane, between Broadway and Liberty Sts., will have its top 12 floors light up every hour until midnight, when the entire 240-foot upper section “is sheathed in light, which is then extinguished as the process begins anew,” according to the hotel’s press release.

This element was featured in several news outlets last October. 

Oddly, one person who said he was not familiar with the illumination plan was Alex Yu, the lawyer representing W&L Group Construction, who was presenting to Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee at their Wed., Apr. 1 meeting.

Community Board 1 Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes read to Yu some of a Real Estate Weekly article describing lighting the upper portion of the hotel.

“That was not communicated to you?” Hughes asked.

“It was not,” said Yu, who asked that the article be forwarded to him.

Yu said he had met with the interior designers and there was no mention of the lighting plan, but did specify which firm. Gene Kaufman Architect designed the interior and exterior of the hotel.

Downtown Express subsequently asked LAK Public Relations, which represents Kaufman, how the illumination would work: after one floor was lit, would it remain so or was only one floor going to be lit at a time until midnight — and was told that the final design is still being developed.

“The hotel will have dozens of its own windows facing the clock, and much closer to it than any neighbor,” Kaufman wrote in an email statement. “We are certainly not intending to make something too bright.”

Kaufman is a frequent architect for Sam Chang, founder of the McSam Hotel Group, which has built several hotels in Lower Manhattan and has raised community ire before. In August 2013, a pipe that fell from a construction site of one of their ventures, the Holiday Inn at 99 Washington St.

Hotel Indigo will have 190 rooms, a restaurant on the ground floor and a rooftop bar, according to the press release. Yu said that construction was supposed to kick off in mid-April, but will likely be pushed back. The hotel is expected to open at the end of 2017.

During the meeting, some residents interjected their opinions, some were glad for the hotel addition while others were not — but no one was pleased with more construction or the illumination, with one neighbor calling it obnoxious.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-08-at-1.04“There is something to be said for how we’ve been just pummeled with 10 years of construction,” said Carla Sinatra, who lives in a building across from the proposed hotel.

Yu said that the design nods to Maiden Lane’s history of being a jewelry district with watchmakers in the late 19th, early 20th centuries. The lower floors will be limestone to make sure that the building integrates into the neighborhood, said Yu.

It is unclear who actually owns the hotel. During his presentation, Yu used the term “ownership” but not did specify whom. He said the ownership brought the site in 2013 and then entered into a franchise agreement with the InterContinental Hotel Group in 2014.

Several outlets reported that 10-12 MLANE L.L.C. brought the buildings that will be turned into the new hotel. A look at New York State Department of State, division of corporations, database shows that 10-12 MLANE filed for incorporation in July 2013 and is located in Flushing, Queens but no executive officers or owners are listed.

Another possible concern, said Ro Sheffe, the committee’s chairperson, is the operating hours of the proposed rooftop bar as there are residents above and adjacent to its level.

Sheffe also noted how construction of the Marriott, which recently opened and is on Broadway near Maiden Lane, narrowed the street for more than a year.

Hughes said that the building is as-of-right, meaning that the developer does not need to come before the board for any approvals. She asked that Yu come back to next month’s meeting.

UPDATE (April 23, 2015): The developers’ architect now says it was a mistake and they were never planning a clock feature.

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One Response to Hotel’s mysterious clock feature sets off alarms

  1. Dusica,

    I am not surprised that local neighbours are annonyed with lights coming on every hour. Perhaps the lights goes on the lower floors or just at the reception in the evening?

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