TravelNewsAsia.com
Fri, 5 May 2017

Ascott Buys Hotel Central Fifth Avenue New York

Ascott has acquired a prime property on New Yorks Fifth Avenue and unveiled plans to invest a total of close to US$50 million (S$68 million) in the property.

The operating 125-unit Hotel Central Fifth Avenue New York will undergo renovation in phases to prepare for its rebranding to Citadines Fifth Avenue New York in 2018.

The property will mark the debut of Ascotts first Citadines serviced residence in the U.S.

The acquisition in New York follows Ascotts recent foray into South America through franchise agreements for two Citadines serviced residences in So Paulo, Brazil.

Ascotts real estate investment trust, Ascott Residence Trust, also acquired the 369-unit Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel and the 411-key Element New York Times Square West hotel in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

Citadines Fifth Avenue New York will increase Ascotts portfolio in the Americas to more than 1,100 units across five properties.

Bedroom at Hotel Central Fifth Avenue New York

Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascotts Chief Executive Officer, said, The debut of our Citadines brand in North America is a significant move to expand Ascotts global network of properties. Citadines is Ascotts fastest growing brand having more than tripled its portfolio since our acquisition of the Citadines Aparthotel chain in Europe in 2004. We have since brought the brand to Asia Pacific, Middle East, South America and now the U.S. As a prominent showcase of the brand, Citadines Fifth Avenue New York will fast-track Ascotts plans to expand our franchise business in North America. Franchise together with investments, management contracts and strategic alliances will continue to be key strategies to bolster Ascotts leading position as we strive towards our target of 80,000 units globally by 2020.

New York has registered significant increase in average daily rate and occupancy in the past years, particularly in Manhattan where we currently own two other prime properties through our real estate investment trust, Ascott Residence Trust. All three properties in Manhattan are in high demand with close to full occupancy given their strategic locations in Times Square, Tribeca and Fifth Avenue. For many of Ascotts customers who are accustomed to the quality service offerings of our award-winning brands, our first Citadines-branded property in the heart of the bustling New York City will further strengthen our global network and provide them with yet another prime accommodation option, Mr Lee added. The U.S. will continue to be an economic powerhouse and its potential for long term returns is attractive. It is our third largest source market for guests and we expect this to grow. Bringing our Citadines brand to the U.S. will enhance our engagement with American customers, and reinforce the cross selling of our other properties in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Besides strengthening our foothold in New York, we also see opportunities for Ascott to expand in other U.S. cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC.

The property is centrally located at 15 West 45th Street along the prestigious Fifth Avenue shopping street and near Times Square, one of the worlds most visited locations with more than 40 million visitors each year. It is also close to the Grand Central Station, easily accessible by subway and bus, and is well served by amenities.

In 2016, New York City broke record with its highest ever visitor arrival more than 60 million visitors marking the seventh year of consecutive growth. Hotel room nights sold also increased by 1.2 million to 34.9 million nights last year.

Citadines Fifth Avenue New York will have access to a big catchment of business travellers as it is within walking distance to over 100 million square feet of office space where companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Verizon are located.

Leisure visitors can enjoy the Museum of Modern Art, catch a show at the Broadway Theater District, shop at Fifth Avenue, ice-skate at the Rink at the Rockefeller Center or take a leisurely stroll in Central Park or Bryant Park, all within the vicinity of the property.

With this latest acquisition in New York, Ascott has added 10 properties with 1,900 units to date this year, across China, Brazil, South Korea and the U.S. Ascott has also opened four properties with more than 800 units. These include its first serviced residences in Jeju, South Korea and in Makassar, Indonesia; as well as properties in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Tokyo, Japan.

See also: Tony Fernandes (AirAsia) and Gary Chapman (Emirates) Talk Aviation @ WTTC Global Summit 2017 - HD Video and Whats Going to Happen to The Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel? HD Video Interview with GM as well as other HD Videos and Podcasts.

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