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Manhattan Hotels Pitch Rooms for Office Space With Travel Frozen

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 6/30/2020 Natalie Wong and Patrick Clark

(Bloomberg) -- New York City hotels, struggling to navigate the pandemic economy, are doing anything they can to drum up business. For the NoMo Soho, that means pitching its rooms to workers stuck at home.

The property is offering rooms with desks, snacks, wifi and “views of the Manhattan skyline that are sure to upgrade the backdrop of your virtual meetings.” The cost for the temporary office starts at $89 for four hours.

“We’re trying to see what’s going to be the next demand,” said Amir Richulsky, chief executive of Sapir Corp., which owns the hotel. “Office workers need larger space, social distancing and we are trying to be there ahead of the curve.”

The pandemic has battered the New York hotels industry, pushing occupancy rates as low as 15%. While some Americans have started taking trips again, particularly to destinations within driving distance of their homes, New York’s lodging market relies on corporate travel and international visits. The prospects of a long recovery have led some owners to consider new uses, like converting hotels to office buildings or affordable housing.

The Roger Smith Hotel, a few blocks north of Grand Central Terminal, recently secured a digital marketing company to rent event space as an office, according to John Knowles, director of public spaces at the property.

“Their Soho rent is currently double what we are able to do for them,” he said. “There seems to be an interest for companies that are downgrading or downsize their offices.”

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