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Mann Report Residential 

Mann Report Residential

Landmark Renovation Marks Return of Housing for Broadway Stars

January, 2009

AKA Times Square is the fourth Manhattan property for the burgeoning and innovative AKA brand of luxury extended-stay hotel residences that are being selectively rolled out worldwide by Philadelphia-based real estate developers Korman Communities, a fourth generation family company led by CEO Steven Korman with sons Larry and Brad as co-presidents. Located at 123 West 44th Street, the property is currently finishing a $28-million renovation transforming the landmarked former hotel to its original, turn-of-the-century architecture and best use. In doing so, AKA Times Square us reviving a New York City tradition of providing short-term housing for stars of the stage as well as business executives, leisure travelers, and other guests who flock to New York City for a week or more.

Over the past 115 years, the building has undergone several remarkable conversions. It began as the Hotel Gerard, a Romanesque, German –Gothic and Renaissance-style building designed by popular theater architect George Keister in 1893. While lauded as a New York City landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to the theater and literary set is became known as Hotel 1-2-3, an apartment hotel for entertainers and other guests. In fact West 44th Street used to be called Rodgers & Hammerstein Row for the many actors, including Audrey Hepburn and James Dean, who lived in the residential hotels that lined the street.

During the condo craze of the early 2000’s, it was gut-renovated and converted into a condominium. The developer’s timing was off, however, when the market went south, units wouldn’t sell. The Korman’s discovered the building in late 2006, fell in love at first sight, and embarked on a multimillion –dollar renovation to fashion AKA Times Square.

AKA Times Square has once again been discovered by the Broadway set, as actors and actresses in town for long-running plays have made the luxury property their home away from home. Celebrities especially appreciate the privacy AKA offers with spacious suites infused with high-end hotel services such as a fitness center; same-day valet dry-cleaning and laundry service; 24-hour front desk assistance; dedicated doormen; concierge services; and full-time, on-site management and maintenance.

“AKA as a brand is very comfortable catering to celebrities,” noted Larry Korman. “AKA gives them what they desire most: anonymity, staff that makes them at ease, and space. They love being able to spread out between a kitchen, living room, and bedroom instead of being shoe-horned into a hotel room dominated by the bed.”

Under Korman’s supervision, the 12-story AKA Times Square building was redesigned into 111 well-appointed studios, one, and two bedroom suites, including nine bi-level penthouse suites. The architectural design of the interior was a combined effort of several boutique firms, including Studio Intramuros, a recently named as a finalist in the Best of the Year awards by Interior Design magazine.

All accommodations feature flat-screen televisions in the bedrooms and living rooms with digital cable and HBO, complimentary Wi-Fi, exclusive REM mattresses with Egyptian cotton linen, and a selection of pillows. Modern, full kitchens are a big draw with Sub-Zero appliances and quartz zodiac countertops with frosted glass back splashes. Mosaic baths with glass shower enclosures and Bosch washers and dryers complete with stylish ambiance.

AKA Times Square stands as a welcome and innovative model of contrasts boasting a thoroughly modern interior with all- new building systems and providing today’s stylish comforts in a beautiful pre-war façade recently returned to its original splendor.

 

Source: http://www.mannpublications.net/magazines/mann-report-residential/

 

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