Hotelier Ian Schrager Discusses the ‘Refined Grittiness’ Behind the 28-Story Public Hotel at 215 Chrystie Street
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All Ian Schrager knew about the Lower East Side before purchasing the land behind the Avalon Chrystie complex was that it was “across the street from Keith McNally’s new restaurant.” This according to a puff-piece interview filed over at the Commercial Observer yesterday. The soundbyte about making the image of this new 28-story Public Hotel at 215 Chrystie Street as “refined gritty” or “tough luxe” is enough to make you lunge for the barf bag. As previously reported, the development boasts eleven ultra-pricey condos atop the 370-room hotel.
Below are some notable excerpts from the writeup. The triumphant conquerer of Chrystie speaks…
How’d you find 215 Chrystie?
A real estate guy, who I had known over many years, owned the property for a real long time and had called me because he thought it was a piece of property in an area that I’d be really interested in developing, and I was. Ruby Schron and David Siegel were the owners of the property; Ruby’s a very big property owner in New York.
Did you want to be on the Lower East Side specifically?
I don’t think about the Lower East Side or Soho or Nolita. I wanted to be Downtown. I was anxiously looking for a cool location Downtown and so this popped up. I didn’t even know it was the Lower East Side. To me it was across the street from Keith McNally’s new restaurant.
That was part of the sell I take it?
And the New Museum, and I saw the new galleries opening there. I think [the activity] made it out to be the next place of art as [galleries] get pushed out of areas where the rents are getting too high like Soho. New restaurants are there and the streets are packed on the weekends, and I thought everything was pushing east from Soho and west from the East Village and Lower East Side and south from Union Square. The Bowery was a fashionable boulevard 100 years ago and I thought it would be again.
Is there a specific concept behind 215 Chrystie?
We always try to capture the ethos of the location—so here we are in this kind of gritty place and we go to this world-class architect and we wanted to use honest materials. We wanted it to be authentic; we didn’t want it to be contrived. And we didn’t want it to be fake distressed or look like grandma’s furniture. When we talked about it we talked about “refined gritty” or “tough luxe,” which sort of captures the spirit of the neighborhood. And any time you put together two diametrically opposed ideas they both showcase each other and highlight and make each other look better.