In a story that all of us seem to have missed a couple of weeks ago (possibly because it was in the New York Post), Vornado Realty Trust is having second thoughts about tearing down the Hotel Penn (home of our biennial HOPE conferences), at least in the near future. There are a number of reasons, none of which are a huge surprise: the overall state of the economy, the prospect of new commercial buildings going up in surrounding areas which will make it all the harder to get tenants for yet another office tower, and the fact that the hotel brings in a ton of money.
Vornado is thinking instead of a massive renovation of the hotel over the next few years. Such a move would save the historic structure at least for the foreseeable future, ensure a healthy income for its owners as its location would be even more ideal for visitors and conferences with more office towers going up in the vicinity, and make the neighborhood a lot more attractive with a variety of buildings serving different purposes. If these reports prove to be true, we think it's an intelligent approach and a great way to ring in the new year.
Of course, if they do a really good job on the renovations, we could find it outside of our price range, which would be the ultimate irony. But one challenge at a time. This is, at least, a glimmer of hope.