The Essex House is a 44-story luxury hotel building, located at 160 Central Park South in Manhattan, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue, overlooking Central Park. It extends through the block to 58th Street. The Art Deco building was completed in 1931. Its "Essex House" rooftop sign was installed in 1932.
Essex House was built on part of the site of the old Navarro Flats, demolished in 1926. The New York Athletic Club was the first building erected on the site, the other is Hampshire House, completed in 1938. The old St. Moritz on-the-Park, at 50 Central Park South, opened in 1930.
In May 1929, the New York Times announced a forty-story apartment hotel to be erected on the site, with 1,311 rooms and 756 baths. The new hotel, at 160-170 Central Park South, was first intended to be named Park Tower and then Sevilla Towers. It was designed by Frank Grad (1882–1968). Its architectural firm also designed, in Newark, the Center Market Building, Beth Israel Hospital, the Mosque Theater Building, the City Hall annex, the Raymond-Commerce Building and other buildings.
Construction of the hotel, with 206.4 feet frontage, began on October 30, 1929. It was nearing completion in October, 1930, but the New York Times announced that the Sevilla Towers on Central Park South, owned by Abraham E. Lefcourt (1876-1932), was to be sold in foreclosure on February 10, 1931.
The hotel formally opened on October, 1931, as Essex House. It went bankrupt and, in 1932, the US Government's Reconstruction Finance Corporation took it from its owners.
In 1946, the Essex House Hotel, Inc., obtained Essex House from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The majority interest was owned by the state of Jerrold R. Golding, who died in 1967. In 1969, it was sold to Marriott Hotels. In 1984, it was sold to Japan Airlines, who operated it as part of its subsidiary Nikko Hotels. In 1990, it undergone a renovation, restoring some Art Deco design and reducing the numbers of rooms from 690 to 580. It had then 148 rooms and suites privately owned as condominiums.
In 1999, it was sold to Strategic Hotels & Resorts an d managed by Starwood Hotels as a Westin Hotel. In 2006 the hotel was sold to Dubai Investment Group, but Strategic Hotels & Resorts bought the hotel again in 2012 and it was renamed JW Marriott Essex House New York.
Copyright © Geographic Guide - Historic Buildings in NYC.