Developer David Mitchell, president of Mitchell Holdings LLC; hospitality veteran and founder Stephen Hanson of BR Guest Hospitality; designer Tara Oxley; and architect Montroy DeMarco Architecture have completed the $8 million renovation and redevelopment of the former Herald Square Hotel into a new 98-room Life Hotel. The hotel is the first property of the new Life hospitality brand established by Mitchell and Hanson.
The 1895 structure, at 19 West 31st Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan’s burgeoning NoMad neighborhood (the Madison Square North historic district), was designed by Carrère and Hastings, the firm responsible for designing the main branch of the New York Public Library. The ten-story-plus-basement neoclassical building was originally designed as the first headquarters for LIFE magazine.
The redeveloped hotel echoes the original dual-use of this iconic property, where celebrated writers and artists like Norman Rockwell, Charles Gibson, and John Ames Mitchell worked, resided, and played. By offering a smartly priced and wholly service-centric experience, Life Hotel is introducing a new category of hotel for today’s traveler, blurring the lines between work and play.
“The journey we’ve taken from first stepping foot into this building to opening day has been one of passion and discovery; it has been an archeological dig from day one,” says Mitchell. “There is so much history behind these walls that we were keen to keep in tact while creating a hotel that goes far beyond the typical.”
Hanson adds, “The Life brand is all about four-star service at a smart and accessible price. You’ll feel that personal touch and value from the moment you walk into the lobby – the buzz and excitement of people working from our communal tables, enjoying a cocktail at the bar or a bite in the restaurant will be enough to convince you that you’re not in an average hotel. And just wait until you experience a night in one of our guest rooms.”
The interior spaces offer a warm, inviting environment that juxtaposes the traditional (historic wood moldings and original marble floors) with the contemporary (new artwork, brass fixtures in the bathrooms, exposed concrete).
Skyland Construction was the general contractor; the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (M/E/P) engineer was Guth DeConzo Consulting Engineers, P.C; the structural engineer was Structural Engineers Incorporated; and the lighting designer was Focus Lighting.