Gansevoort Vs. The Standard: It’s So On!

Flanked on either side by less expensive accommodations and priced more in line with the larger, luxurious newcomer, the Hotel Gansevoort, with nightly rates this week ranging from $325 to $725, is perhaps the most vulnerable of the group.

“When business is great, you could withstand a little bit of competition,” said Mr. Born, who noted that the Hotel Gansevoort and Maritime had mutually thrived for years despite opening within a year of each other. “The market was rising the whole time,” he said. “Everything was absorbed. Nobody felt the effects. We didn’t feel them. They didn’t feel us. Right now, it’s working the other way. Dropping 300-and-some-odd rooms into the market is not going to be helpful to anybody.

“It will be the attraction,” Mr. Born said of the new Standard, “and there will be fewer customers to go around. I think the Gansevoort is going to be the hotel most affected by it.”

Not everyone in the neighborhood agrees with Mr. Born’s Gansevoort-Standard death-match scenario, particularly the Gansevoort’s proprietor, Mr. Achenbaum. “We don’t see the Standard as directly competitive with the Hotel Gansevoort,” he wrote in an email. “The Standard is known for a lower price point with more limited services, while the Hotel Gansevoort serves the luxury market. I am confident the Standard will be incrediby successful as the Hotel Gansevoort has run at such high occupancylevels and there is more than enough business for everybody.”

David Rabin, president of the Meatpacking District Initiative, agreed. “I don’t see it as a Gansevoort killer.”

A self-described “rising-tides-lift-all-boats kind of guy,” Mr. Rabin, the founder of the seminal local club Lotus, which is now closed, stands to benefit greatly from the Standard’s highly anticipated opening. His 85-seat Mexican eatery Los Dados is just down Washington Street from the new hotel.

“I think even people who aren’t going to stay there are going to come to check it out, have a drink there or go to an event there, and then they’re going to spread out through the neighborhood and they’re going to eat their meals somewhere else and they’re going to shop on their way out,” Mr. Rabin said.

It nonetheless could present a formidable challenge for the Hotel Gansevoort, he added.

“André is a master at style and marketing,” Mr. Rabin said of the Standard developer, Mr. Balazs. “Everyone could take lessons from André. He has a huge public persona and a huge network of contacts in the fashion, media and arts worlds. He’s just unbelievably well known and well liked. He’s just hard to compete with. But, you still have an area that has 40 restaurants and bars, as well as 75 high-end retailers. So people want to stay in the area. I think the Gansevoort holds its own. Yes, I think there are people who always want to go to whatever is brand new. But the Gansevoort is still a great location.”

Even detractors of both properties assert that the Hotel Gansevoort won’t be so easily supplanted as the new neighborhood status symbol.

Take Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who has railed against both the Hotel Gansevoort for its offensive billboards, which remain despite some slight alterations, and the Standard for its grandiose scale and the lack of public input that went into its planning.

“I would certainly say that the Hotel Gansevoort sort of embodied everything bad about the new meatpacking district,” said Mr. Berman, citing the fights with neighbors and “hideous architecture” in particular. “Whether the Standard is going to overtake them in that regard, we’ll have to wait and see.”

cshott@observer.com