Developers Buy JFK Hilton to Launch First Conversion from Hotel into Affordable, Permanent Apartments

Developers Buy JFK Hilton to Launch First Conversion from Hotel into Affordable, Permanent Apartments

 By Yehudit Garmaise

After looking for two years to find the right hotel, developers have bought the Hilton Hotel across the street from JFK Airport with plans to convert rooms into 318 apartments for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and earning low to moderate incomes. 

The buyers, from Developers Slate Property Group and the nonprofit RiseBoro Community Partnership, paid $70 million for the hotel and will spend an additional $80 million to convert the hotel rooms into affordable, permanent residential spaces.

The buyers, who are the first to launch such a conversion project, will receive $48 million from New York’s Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act, (HONDA), to jumpstart long-planned efforts to both offer apartments with lower rents and reduce record homelessness in New York City.

“[The JFK Hilton] is a hotel with great bones [and] relatively large-sized hotel rooms compared to New York City standards,” RiseBoro CEO Scott Short told Gothamist, while also praising the hotel’s large lobby. “We don’t want to create a bunch of shoebox-size apartments.”

Converting hotels and other underutilized assets, such as unused office buildings, as many have proposed, is the create hundreds of new, affordable units, Short explained.

“We can solve the housing crisis,” said Short, repeating an idea often repeated by Mayor Eric Adams who has called for the transformation of 25,000 unused hotel rooms into affordable apartments.  

“It’s important to have the first one done,” said Assemblymember Karines Reyes, who represents District 87 and sponsored the HONDA legislation. “But I also know this is a small drop in the bucket when it comes to the amount of housing we have to build.”

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