Govind Armstrong, the Los Angeles-based chef behind the Cooper Square’s planned restaurant, Table 8, seemed as unsure as anyone about a possible opening date when asked about the hotel’s progress during a culinary showcase in Sagaponack this past weekend. “Four months,” he predicted.
The new Chelsea in Atlantic City celebrated its grand opening earlier this month, but much of that hotel, too, remains a work in progress. At press time, developer Curtis Bashaw was hustling to obtain the proper permits in order to unveil his hugely hyped fifth-floor amenities, including a Stephen Starr restaurant and nightspots designed by Beatrice Inn impresarios Paul Sevigny and Matt Abramcyk, in time for a long-scheduled press event this coming weekend. The Chelsea’s sprawling ground-floor spa, meanwhile, won’t be finished until November.
André Balazs, developer of the highly anticipated 344-room Standard NYC, has perhaps demonstrated the keenest foresight of them all by adopting the ultra-vague timeline “Coming Soonish.”
Hotels are simply “very, very complicated projects,” said Mr. Pomeranc. “There’s nothing uniform about them, and they evolve as they go on—that’s just the nature of the business. You try to do your best to give yourself a cushion to make those changes, but they take on their own lives, especially in New York City.
“It’s really more important for us to design and create an impressive product, and one that we are going to be proud of and lasts a very long time, than it is to rush things and have something be extraordinarily commercial and uninteresting.”
Somewhat self-mockingly, Mr. Pomeranc himself pointed out a few other recent Thompson Hotels projects that didn’t exactly stick to their original timelines.
“For instance, our project in Beverly Hills, we’re so happy with the end result—that one was delayed a bit, too,” he said. “And Gild Hall is open now,” he added, referring to the company’s newly renovated hotel on Gold Street. “That was pretty close to being on schedule—shockingly.”
Not that it really matters, he said: “The funny thing about that nitpicking—it’s just irrelevant. I mean, consider any creative field, whether it be a restaurant, an artist, a sculptor, a photographer—if you need a second day on your shoot, or you need a week, it’s going to take as long as it’s going to take within reasonable bounds, and you’re going to try to do the best that you can to make it work efficiently and make it work creatively at the same time. You balance those two things out, and until someone has tried to do it, they don’t understand what the process is.
“I sort of take it as a compliment,” Mr. Pomeranc said of the bloggers’ constant tardiness jokes. “The text, when they’re talking about the actual hotels, a lot of it is very flattering and complimentary. I would hope that they’re singling me out because they think that myself and Thompson as a whole are really making an effort to be pioneers in the industry.”