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A Downtown hotel is entering the digit-al age — claiming the borough’s area code as its chic calling card.
The developers of Hotel 718 on Duffield Street say their 19-story hotel will feature plenty of Brooklyn attitude — but in a good way.
“Across the country, you see people associating good things with Brooklyn, and 718 captures that,” said Greg Atkins, president of V3 Hotels.
The hotel, located between Fulton and Willoughby streets, is one of two that V3 is developing on the block, which will soon become a veritable hospitality row. Another new hotel, Aloft, is scheduled to open this month across the street next to the new Sheraton Hotel.
“We are going to run our hotel to make our guests feel as if they’re Brooklynites,” Atkins said. “All the things we love about Brooklyn will be at their fingertips.”
Number crunchers with V3 weighed hundreds of names before agreeing that 718 was the right fit.
“Brooklyn the brand is very valuable right now,” Atkins said.
Of course, this wasn’t always the case. At one time, New York’s 212 was the Fabergé egg of area codes. But when the city was riven, the 718 code became the ne’er-do-well cousin.
This isn’t the first time 718 has been used in a company name: Urban outfitter No. 718, a Staten Island company, has also claimed the digits. The area code, after all, isn’t exclusive to Brooklyn, and includes phone numbers in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.
At one time, neighbors were hostile to the idea of redevelopment on the street, particularly given its role as a stop on the Underground Railroad, the ad-hoc network of safe houses and secret passages that allowed fugitive slaves to escape to freedom in the North or Canada.
But Hotel 718 — slated for a November opening — appears to have won one-time critics over.
“I don’t see a problem with it — as long as nothing happens to us,” said longtime block resident Joy Chatel, whose home was once threatened with seizure as part of the city’s Downtown Brooklyn Plan.
She said the hotel should showcase its link to the past, suggesting it open up its basement as a historical attraction.
But the hotel has no plans to do that.
“We just have one cellar, and it is mostly used for mechanical space,” Atkins noted.
“But we are certainly aware of Duffield Street being ‘Abolitionist Way,’ and we are looking forward to recognizing that in some capacity.”
The $25-million hotel features a red brick façade, rooftop sundeck, spa service, fitness center, 80-seat restaurant and bar and high-tech rooms with flat-screen TVs, MP3 docking stations and high-speed Internet access.
Hotel 718 is part of an area room binge, particularly focused on Gowanus, where zoning and cheap land facilitated the explosion. The recently announced Union Hotel on Degraw Street in Gowanus is nearing completion, and will challenge Hotel Le Bleu on Fourth Avenue, Comfort Inn on Butler Street at Nevins Street, Holiday Inn Express on Union Street and Fourth Avenue, and a soon-to-open Fairfield Inn at Third Avenue and Douglass Street.
And three more hotels are expected to rise on President Street between Third and Fourth avenues.
Cognizant of the boom, the city recently decided to shift traffic flow on Duffield southbound between Willoughby and Fulton streets, funneling traffic towards Flatbush Avenue, the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway and two city airports.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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