William Zeckendorf Jr., a New York real estate magnate who is buying the Shoreham Americana Hotel for $35 million, is planning to build luxury condominiums with a panoramic view of Rock Creek Park to the rear of the hotel.
Zeckendorf, a millionaire real estate investor, said he has not made definitive plans for the condominiums. But he said that the motor inn behind the Calvert Street NW hotel may be razed and three tennis courts torn up so that the condominiums can be built.
Two to four condominium buildings, with individual units costing $200,000, are planned at the site, according to Darius Kapadia, head of American operations for the Taj Group, an Indian firm which is expected to manage the hotel.
Zeckendorf said he and his financial associates, whom he declined to name, would take title Nov. 6 to the 800-room hotel, long a Washington landmark for conventions, social gatherings and elaborate dinners.
Zeckendorf, 49, who owns with partners three hotels in New York (the Delmonico, the Navarro and the Statler) and has a fourth under construction, said that the Shoreham "will be upgraded to where it was 20 years ago when it was a top-flight hotel."
He said the refurbishing will be done over a two-to-three year period, starting soon after the sale is completed, and chiefly consist of replacing the hotel's furnishings. Zeckendorf said that groups of rooms will be closed at various stages of the work, but that the rest of the hotel would remain open. Kapadia said the refurbishing will cost $6 million to $7 million.
Kapadia said the condominium buildings will not be taller than the existing eight-story hotel.
"The whole idea is to maintain the beauty of the hotel and the grounds, to keep it very much in harmony with the surroundings," Kapadia said. "We specialize in very fine hotels."
Kapadia said the Taj Group operates 19 hotels in India and four in the Mideast and Africa, as well as restaurants in New York, Hong Kong and Japan. The Shoreham will be the first U.S. hotel in the chain.
Kapadia said that negotiations over the sale of the Shoreham have been going on during the last six months. The hotel is now owned by Chicago real estate investor Lester Meilman, head of a company called MAT Associates, but the hotel is run by Americana Hotels, a subsidiary of American Airlines.
The hotel, located on 11 1/2 acres at 2500 Calvert St. NW, abutting Rock Creek Park, has four restaurants and lounges, two outdoor pools, a sauna and lighted tennis courts.
The Shoreham is not the only venerable Washington hotel to undergo a facelift. Part of the nearby Sheraton Park Hotel is being demolished and a new 10-story hotel section is being constructed.
Meanwhile, the Hay-Adams Hotel, overlooking Lafayette Square, has been sold to a French hotel developer, Georges F. Mosse, and is being redone in a Continental Old World decor.