By Terry Trucco
For a short time, you can see Le Parker Meridien as it hasn’t been seen in years. Or to put it another way, the south side of West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues looks like a wide smile with a tooth missing.
The missing tooth is the sturdy, 12-story brick structure, long home to the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, that occupied the spot next to the hotel’s arcade entrance for more than a century, far longer than the 30-year-old Parker Meridien. But 1903 buildings, even ones with updated street-level facades, tend to be too short for 21st century tastes, and in 2007 it was sold.
Its demise elicited protests from preservationists, but none mighty enough to halt plans for a 30-story replacement. Our guess is the Parker Meridien let out the loudest groans; it’s new neighbor will be a 296-room boutique hotel developed by Ark Partners, whose Willow Hotel Group runs several New York hotels including the Shoreham, Franklin and Mansfield.
The intriguing news: the design team for the new hotel is Roman & Williams aka Robin
Standefer and Stephen Alesch, the super-hot designers responsible for interiors at the Standard, the Ace, the updated Royalton, the Dutch restaurant (Sam Sifton cheered) and Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen.
To quote the press release, “The façade is defined by two muscular shoulders – made of iron-spot black brick – that define, frame and ground the building’s front elevation.” On the inside, “Guest room and public area designs will feature rich woods, understated yet grand décor elements, and a nod to Mid-Century-Modern design.”
The other news: according to Curbed, the architect of record is the prolific Gene Kaufman, architect-of-choice of chain hotel developer Sam Chang and designer of what seems every new hotel in town, from the Times Square slivers on West 39th Street to the newly announced renovations at the Hotel Chelsea.
For now, Parker Meridien rooms on lower floors have more light than ever before. The tradeoff: that vacant lot is a construction site. The new hotel is scheduled to open in 2013.