No new news on the fate of the Hotel Pennsylvania, during this conference call. The full version of the transcript can be found here.
“Ross Nussbaum (Analyst – UBS): Second question is hotel Penn. Obviously hotel New York has been a little weak lately. Does that cause you, plus your long-term plans with the plaza, how much longer is hotel Penn going to be a hotel? Are we going to resurrect the architect plans from the Merrell building at some point?”
“Steven Roth (Chairman, CEO): You know, we can’t predict the future. We can only say that, yes, the hotel business in New York is soft. I think the folks tell me that New York is the only hotel market in the United States which is — which has negative comps. Which is pretty startling because it is the principal tourist attraction in the United States. But what’s going on in New York is just oversupply, oversupply, oversupply. And when new entries open up, they cut the prices to get to stabilization and so whatever. Our numbers are lower. They’re not — they’re not seriously lower. They’re, what, 5%, 7% lower, something like that. So we understand what’s going on. But it’s not — so basically the hotel Penn is either a hotel or a place saver as we see it. And as markets change. I can tell you that we have an enormous profit in the hotel now. We can tell the asset for an enormous profit. We believe that there’s much more to come. We are unable to make a commitment now as to whether it’s going to go into a tear-down or a renovation. We are also unable to make a commitment now as to whether it’s going to go for a hotel use or an office use or whatever. We have all kinds of different conversations going on. I can only tell you one thing. With incredible sincerity. It will be well worth the wait. Now, there’s lots of things that we do that are — maybe take a while, where we have patience. It took eight years to assemble the 220 Central Park south site. And that will be well, well, well worth the wait. Hotel Penn fits into that category as well.”