Rumors turn to truth: W Hotel planned for 1441 Chestnut St.

The lot at 1441 Chestnut today
We can now state for certain that this parking lot will sprout a new W Hotel, to open by January 2015.

Early last week, we helped spread the rumor of a W Hotel coming to 1441 Chestnut Street in the heart of Center City.  As recent as April 18, Starwoodhotels.com featured Philadelphia in its “New and Upcoming Hotels” section and even specified “opening in January 2015” at the 1441 site, so there was good reason to speculate that Philly was finally getting the upscale chain hotel.  Shortly after our piece ran, rumors came to a groundswell and Starwood took the Philadelphia location ‘coming soon’ announcement off their website, causing us to believe that the rumor was baseless and that a W Hotel wouldn’t be coming to town after all.

Well, we are happy to report that this is in fact not true and that Starwood Hotels still plans to build a new W Hotel at 1441 Chestnut.  According to a recent Philly.com article that confirms the original rumors to be true, the project is officially scheduled to break ground next year on the half-acre site just behind the Ritz-Carlton.  Perhaps more exciting, this project, along with the 246-unit Hilton Home2Suites that recently broke ground by the Convention Center, hints at financing beginning to loosen for hotel projects.

If all goes according to plan, the W will begin construction in about a year and
could be ready for use in 2014, an earlier date than the ‘early 2015’ label on Starwood’s website.  There is no explanation for the discrepancy but we’ll take it – the sooner the better.  A W Hotel here would add to the slate of luxury boutique hotels that have entered the Center City market in the last three years, including the Kimpton brands Palomar and the soon to open Hotel Monaco as well as a Le Meridien. The boutique Latham Hotel at 17th and Walnut is undergoing renovations.

Also of noteworthy excitement, the current site is fully zoned to develop a 58-story mixed-use project that was originally approved for the Waldorf Hotel on this site.   While that project fell through due to the recession, those approvals are very much still in place.  We’re hoping the W Hotel will piggyback off the Waldorf plan and bring another skyline-altering building to Center City’s landscape.

-By Greg Meckstroth for PhiladelphiaRealEstate.com