Wellington hotel looks set to close - and will oust two restaurants

The Wellington Hotel, a tourist landmark at 871 Seventh Ave. and West 55th St. since 1902, appears to be heading for its la...

The Wellington Hotel, a tourist landmark at 871 Seventh Ave. and West 55th St. since 1902, appears to be heading for its last check-out.

Owner Richard Born used a demolition clause to oust four retailers, including famous Greek restaurant Molyvos, Realty Check has learned – suggesting the end is imminent for the vacant 27-story hotel.

Molyvos, along with the popular Park Café restaurant and two small shops, are due out by January 1. A demolition clause does not necessarily mean that an entire building must be demolished. It can also be used when an owner is considering selling or substantially renovating the property.

But the omens are not good for Wellington. It briefly served as a homeless shelter after the the pandemic has struck and remains empty. The hospitality industry is in shock despite a surge in tourism, and pre-war hostels like Wellington are particularly vulnerable.

Born, a director of DB Hotels, did not respond to a detailed message left at his office.

Molyvos has been a popular 50s western destination since 1997. The Park Café dates back 30 years.

Molyvos owner Nick Livanos said the eviction was a “surprise” as he renewed the lease shortly before Covid and renovated the restaurant’s kitchen and air conditioning units.

Molyvos owner Nick Livanos says he doesn’t blame his owner.
Steve cuozzo

Livanos said: “Richard has been a great owner and there is nothing wrong with it. He is simply a victim of the pandemic. “

A Park Café employee confirmed he was also forced to leave under the demolition clause, but declined to say more.

Born’s plans remain a mystery. Neither demolition nor construction plans have yet been filed with the Ministry of Buildings.

On July 22, title passed from Wellington 871 Holding to Wellington Property Owner, both with offices at 871 Seventh Ave., according to city records. No money changed hands and the purpose of the transfer was unknown.

Since spring 2020, some 250 of the city’s 700 hotels have closed or have been converted to temporary homeless housing.

Vijay Dandapani, president of the Hotel Association of New York, had not heard of the situation in Wellington but said he was not surprised.

Wellington hotel
The same demolition clause that forces Molyvos to close affects the Park Café.
Steve cuozzo

“The hotel market is not picking up as some expected. I don’t see it going back to 2019 levels until 2025, ”Dandapani said.

He noted that Born’s company, which owns thousands of hotel rooms in Manhattan, recently sold the 600-room Watson on West 57th Street and may want to offload other fringe properties.

“He’s not going to sell his coupons,” Dandapani said. “He’s just careful.”

Located near Carnegie Hall and the Broadway theaters, the Wellington promised guests “the warmest hospitality in New York.” The original hotel was small but eventually grew to over 600 rooms.

Richard Born’s father, Robert Born, who died in 2000, was the driving force behind Wellington’s expansion.

Pickleball, the funky hybrid ping pong / paddleball game which has “won over everyone from Leo DeCaprio to your grandparents,” according to Vanity Fair, is the latest lure from the tenants of Aby Rosen’s Seagram Building.

A man is surrounded by pickleballs on a field
The Seagram Building’s sports facilities will include fields for pickleball enthusiasts like this gentleman.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

The iconic tower at 375 Park Ave. has added a pickleball field to its Playground, a 34,000 square foot, $ 25 million recreation complex under Seagram Square that will open in mid-2022. The facility will also have spaces for basketball, volleyball, floor hockey and even a climbing wall.

“Renters see the Seagram Playground as a compelling differentiator,” said AJ Camhi, executive vice president of rentals at Rosen.

The revitalized building also features newly created outdoor terraces as well as The Grill and The Pool, restaurants that occupy the former Four Seasons the spaces.

The tower’s playground and other amenities have helped create 46,000 square feet of recent and recently completed new leases and renewals. They include a 17,519 square foot move within the tower by Ehrenkranz Partners, a tenant since 1992, and an extension by another longtime tenant, Investindustrial. Both companies cited the Playground as a factor in their decision to stay with Seagram.

In addition, CapVest Partners, Decheng Capital and Skyway Equities were among the companies to sign new leases.

A full view of the skyscraper known as the Seagram Building
Owner Aby Rosen upgraded the Seagram Building with new decks as well as leisure offerings.
Getty Images

But the 880,000 square foot Seagram Building tells the story of two office buildings. Rosen’s RFR Realty is looking for a single large tenant, or maybe two, to replace Wells Fargo, which left 250,000 square feet in March when it moved to Hudson Yards.

The rest of the tower is almost 100 percent leased. Rents charged range from $ 148 to $ 175 per square foot.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Wellington hotel looks set to close - and will oust two restaurants
Wellington hotel looks set to close - and will oust two restaurants
Newsrust - US Top News
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