It was the EOY for Vornado, and they had their annual 4th quarter conference call. The entire transcript can be found here, but the highlights, are what interest us.
“Brad Burke – Goldman Sachs
Just a couple quick ones for me and sticking with Penn Plaza, I was hoping you could give us an update on how you’re thinking about the development opportunity at the hotel Penn site, whether you’re thinking about proceeding with that at any time in the near future?
Steven Roth – Chairman & CEO
The answer is, and I’ve said this over the years. The markets are ebbing and flowing over there, our aspirations, if you would have talked to David and I and our team some years ago, for the Penn Plaza district business, we would renovate or raise whichever the Hotel Pennsylvania, and that would be enough.
Our aspirations have now grown enormously so that the way we look at it, we have a one, two, three, four block square little sub neighborhood, or actually large sub neighborhood, and what we’re about is to improve the whole district. The Hotel Penn is important, but not the main event.
The main event is to get the office buildings so that they command higher market ranch than they do currently. And by the way, they are rising with the marketplace, quite smartly, currently. So we’re not prepared to commit to what our plan for the Hotel Pennsylvania is.
We are considering options which go from A to Z, including demolishing it to renovating it to turning it into – to combining it with the Manhattan Mall behind. I know it’s been a long time in the making, but we’re really committed to, we are not able to comment today as to what our eventual development plan will be.
We are working very hard, really hard, up to our eyeballs in the plans to transform the entire district.”
And certainly enough, scaffolding went up around the Hotel Penn the very next day. NYC DOB reports only show a permit being filed for scaffolding and nothing more. Not clear why, but if any changes are coming you can be sure we will be on top of it.