COVID-19 has claimed the landmark Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The hotel’s owner, Pakistan International Airlines, announced over the weekend that it was shuttering the 19-story, 1,015-key hotel at 45 East 45th Street before the end of 2020 due to a steep drop in demand because of the pandemic.
“Due to the current, unprecedented environment and the continued-uncertain impact from COVID-19, the owners of the Roosevelt Hotel have made the difficult decision to close the hotel, and the associates were notified this week,” the owner said in a statement to CNN, which broke the news of the closure. “The iconic hotel, along with most of New York City, has experienced very low demand, and as a result, the hotel will cease operations before the end of the year. There are currently no plans for the building beyond the scheduled closing.”
“Very low demand” is an understatement. The pandemic has wreaked havoc with the city’s hospitality industry. A June analysis forecasted that New York City could lose as many as 1 in 5 hotel rooms, or 25,000, permanently to the pandemic. The average occupancy rate for city hotels stood at under 40% nightly at the start of September, far less than half the pre-pandemic norm.
The closures and dearth of business have also meant sweeping job losses in the industry. Plus, hotels as an investment vehicle rank near the bottom of the pile in terms of desirability. This might mean that any buyer of the former Roosevelt will likely purchase the 742,557-square-foot building as a conversion opportunity, retaining its historic facade and gutting the interior. It is located in the Times Square area near major subway hubs.