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Following Death of Owner Myron Nelkin, the Landmark
 Garden City Hotel On Long Island Put On Market

By Daniel Wagner, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 17, 2007 - The Garden City Hotel, one of Long Island's most storied landmarks, appears poised to begin a new chapter.

Its owners, the family of the late hotelier Myron Nelkin, have put it on the market as they "explore a number of options" for the future of their real estate portfolio, executive vice president Patrick Smalley said yesterday.

Although it is one of Long Island's oldest institutions -- the first incarnation opened in 1874 -- it has changed with the decades, from its days as a watering hole for Vanderbilts and Astors, to its more recent role as home of the hot-spot nightclub Posh.

The broker handling the listing, Mark Gordon of Cushman & Wakefield, could not be reached. The most recent assessed value of the property is about $37 million, but industry sources said the asking price could be more than twice that.

"It always has been and remains the centerpiece of Garden City," said village historian John Ellis Kordes.

Nelkin bought the property in the 1970s and the family has owned and operated the business since reopening it in 1983. No member of the family would comment for this story.

"We've developed a very fond relationship with these people," said village administrator Robert Schoelle. "It's a place for residents to bring their families on special occasions, and when family members return to the village, they often stay at the Garden City Hotel."

The existing hotel is actually the fourth building to occupy the site and carry the name. The first, a Victorian design, was rebuilt by architect Stanford White in Georgian Revival style and reopened in 1895. After a fire gutted that building, White returned to build what became a central spot for Long Island's rich and famous during the Roaring '20s.

Visitors included wealthy industrialists, presidents, and even Charles Lindbergh on the night before his historic trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. It was also a meeting place for the group that built the world's first motor parkway, Kordes said.

Paul Amoruso, a hotelier and managing director of the Jericho-based commercial brokerage Oxford and Simpson, said there are a number of reasons why the family may be considering a sale.

"I think it's the right move at the right time to sell that property, while the market is still strong," he said. He said high-end hotels are facing increased competition from limited-service chain hotels and those situated closer to major roads.

Amoruso added that Myron Nelkin's death this summer might have spurred the family to consider its options.

"The hotel was Myron's baby, and you need someone with that same spirit to continue that level of property," he said. "I can't see it continuing without him at the reins."

It is unclear what the hotel's next face will be. Several industry observers said they expected high-end chains like Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons would look at the property, and Amoruso said, "it'll attract very interested luxury buyers from all over the world."

Hotel's extended stay

1874: Hotel opens.

1895: Reopens after a Stanford White redesign.

1899: Fire guts interior.

1901: Hotel reopens.

1927: Charles Lindbergh stays before historic flight.

1959: John F. Kennedy and wife Jacqueline visit.

1971: Hotel closes.

1983: Myron Nelkin opens new hotel.

Sources: Newsday files, historian John Ellis Kordes, Garden City Hotel Web site.


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