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As the fate of Hell’s Kitchen’s shuttered hotels slowly comes into focus, the vacant Hudson Hotel on W58th Street and 9th Avenue is slated to be converted into shared space housing by developer CSC Coliving.
According to Crain’s, in early 2022 the firm purchased the 24-story hotel, which closed during the pandemic, for $207 million from previous owner Eldridge Industries with plans to reformat the hotel into 438 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with rents priced at 20 percent below market rate. CSC focuses on building amenity-friendly, high-density apartments where residents have their own room but share common spaces, giving tenants roommate-style pricing with additional autonomy. The coliving space joins another communal residence in the neighborhood — Hell’s Kitchen House from Outpost, located on W46th Street and 10th Avenue in a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly building.
CSC Coliving is no stranger to Hell’s Kitchen, having previously invested in and renovated three buildings on 10th Avenue between W45/46th Streets. “We identified a great repositioning opportunity with this portfolio. Marred by low occupancy, squatters, rent stabilized and rent controlled tenants, as well as three below-market retail spaces, we completely transformed these properties,” they say on their website about 640, 642 and 644 10th Avenue (the retail units are currently all not in use).
The move is a return to communal living spaces for the building, which was built in 1928 by philanthropist Anne Morgan (daughter of banking baron JP Morgan) as the American Women’s Association (AWA) clubhouse and residence, to provide safe, affordable housing and social spaces for women living independently in the city.
Its tenure as an AWA residence ended after the organization went bankrupt in 1941, after which the building was converted into the Henry Hudson Hotel, a co-ed residence that also hosted Dutch soldiers during World War II. In its later years, part of the building even housed local flagship public television station WNET (and the first tapings of The Daily Show!) before being purchased by the Morgan Hotel Group in 1997 and converted into The Hudson — undergoing a stylish renovation from Studio 54 empresario Ian Schrager and French industrial designer Philippe Starck. The Hudson remained a destination hotel and was a frequent film location for New York productions like Gossip Girl and Sex and the City.
At the start of the pandemic, the hotel remained open and offered accommodation to first responders. “We are staying open for your NYC. We remain, our doors are open and the lights are still on. To all first responders, to everyone whom needs us, we are still here, and we will prevail. WE ARE NEW YORK STRONG!” they said in an Instagram post on March 20, 2020. In April that year, alongside Yotel and the Intercontinental Times Square, the Hudson provided 800 free rooms for healthcare workers coming to New York from out of state. They also donated supplies of N95 masks, latex gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant to local hospitals when New York was the pandemic’s epicenter, before shutting down in the fall of 2020.
Housing advocates like the nonprofit Breaking Ground (at the forefront of the Mayor’s recently launched Homeless Assistance Program) have pushed for out-of-business hotels to be converted into permanent shelters. Wrote CEO Brenda Rosen in an Op-Ed in the Gotham Gazette: “The Paramount Hotel and the Hudson River Hotel are two examples of existing, vacant Midtown buildings that could quickly result in several hundred homes for those living unsheltered on the streets of Midtown and others in need of stable housing with services.” The Paramount, backed by union representatives who argue that the hotel can and will return to business in the fall, will not be converted to housing.
Though it won’t be converted into shelter accommodations, the Hudson joins other West Side coliving spaces to provide much-needed housing in a neighborhood that has recently hit record high rents and record low vacancies — making a roommate model of living more attractive than ever.