Flashy Dubai ‘Palette’ Paints Essex House

Essex House, through the trees.

The New York Post‘s Steve Cuozzo today checks in at Essex House, the Central Park South hotel and condo building in which the Dubai Investment Group invested $440 million in September.

Although the new owners took control only last month, some guests in the Central Park South property’s 606 hotel rooms and residents of its 148 condo apartments already claim to see signs of a planned $50 million capital improvement program. (The sale to DGI included only 9 of the condos).

The peg is to the “pattern of growing U.A.E. investment in Manhattan real estate,” and Cuozzo leads with a comparison of renovations at Essex House to the controversial plan to hand a management contract for American ports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates.

But at Essex House, the problem, which is neatly reminiscent of the grumbling that accompanied Japanese companies’ purchases of high-profile Midtown buildings in the 1980’s, is as much cultural as legal.

One resident said he was shocked to see new, orange carpeting on part of the third floor, where management is apparently experimenting: “We are used to a subdued palette here.”

Meanwhile, strollers have been surprised to see the sign above the entrance sprout the name “Jumeirah,” with a vivid Arabesque flourish above the letter “i.”

Much, much more detail here.

– Tom McGeveran

Flashy Dubai ‘Palette’ Paints Essex House