New York Post
by Steve Cuozzo
July 20, 2010
The “Lullaby of Broad way” might become The Lulla-buy of Broadway. The owners of The shuttered Milford Plaza Hotel, which used The slogan for decades, have tapped a top hotel broker to assess interest in a possible sale.
The 1,300-room Milford Plaza between West 44th and 45th streets closed last December for top-to-bottom renovations — “discover The truth behind The buzz,” a sign teased. But in March, The job was “suspended indefinitely” as The owner assessed “its options for The property.”
Now, The owner — an affiliate of Ogden Cap Properties, controlled by Philip Milstein and other members of The late Seymour Milstein’s family — has tapped Atlanta-based hotel-sale brokers Hodges Ward Elliott to “test The market and see what The interest is,” according to Milstein’s spokesperson.
The rep said “multiple options are on The table,” including re-starting The renovation. But Milstein appears to be casting a wide net for a buyer.
Hodges Ward Elliott’s Web site describes partner Mark Elliott, who’s handling The Milford Plaza, as “The top hotel broker in The country.”
Eastdil Secured’s Doug Harmon, who’s not involved at The Milford Plaza, said, “It’s a great location for a lower-budget type hotel.” He estimated it was worth “maybe $150 million in its current state, and you’d need more to fix it.”
Elliott’s office said he was traveling and could not be reached.
Milstein’s rep said that contrary to rumors that The company had been unable to get construction financing for The renovation, they had not sought to borrow at all, but intended to “put their own equity” into The project. The Milford Plaza has no mortgage.
The owners earlier cited a “difficult credit market environment” and weakness in The hospitality sector for halting renovations.
The retreat surprised hotel-watchers and Eighth Avenue dealmakers.
The Milstein family bought The property in 1978 and popularized it with tourists even during The Times Square area’s crime- and sleaze-filled decades. It long thrived but was badly in need of capital improvements.