|By Jane H. Furse, Daily News, New York|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
June 14, 2004 - It's been 40 years since Harlem got a new hotel, and now the storied Manhattan neighborhood is about to get two.
Construction of a Marriott Courtyard Hotel will begin this fall at Park Ave. and 123rd St. -- and the approval process is underway for a swanky W Hotel just blocks away, according to yesterday's Crain's New York Business.
The Harlem Chamber of Commerce and other community groups are backing the plan to build the W Hotel on the site of the former Loews Victoria Theater on W. 125th St., off Frederick Douglass Blvd.
It would be part of a complex next to the Apollo Theatre that would include the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
Community leaders have been pushing for hotel development as part of Harlem's revitalization and to fill a growing demand for lodging.
"We want it to be the W because it complements the upscale, hip nature that is Harlem," Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Williams told Crain's.
Harlem's best-known hotel, the Theresa, closed in 1966 -- a year after Cuban leader Fidel Castro moved his delegation there after getting snubbed by a downtown destination.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., the parent company of W Hotel, may face some competition if the state, which owns the property, invites proposals from other companies interested in vying for a piece of Harlem's rapidly growing tourism market.
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