Contributing Monkie Jennifer Buonantony
Published on May 13, 2008
The Starwood Capital Group plans to put a new star in Hollywood, with its conviction to begin construction on its green luxury hotel chain called “1”. Starwood aims to have fifteen locations in the next twenty-four months including Los Angeles.
Call it another example of going green in Hollywood.
The goal is to combine architecture that is environmentally sustainable with great interior design, service, and luxury. The Starwood Group, which owns high end hotels such as the W Hotels, Le Meridien, and Westin, hopes “1” will set a new standard for green hotels and eventually push the entire hotel industry to transform. Each “1” location plans to donate one percent of hotel revenue to local environmental groups, hence the simplicity of the name.
If “1” is as successful as its Starwood predecessors, that could add up to one big environmental paycheck.
The hotels will feature thirty percent higher efficiency than required under state law through the use of natural light, occupancy, sensors, lighting control and Energy Star appliances. The hotels will be built using construction materials that can be locally sourced and are high in recycled content, and the building’s energy will be produced fifty percent from wind, hydro, and biomass sources. Which sure beats having to re-use your bath towel.
The first hotel is scheduled to open in Seattle later this year, followed by a Mammouth Mountain ski resort, a Paris location, and one in New York City. However, this new star may want to hire a better publicist, because the “1” hotel scheduled to open in Manhattan’s Bryant Park is also drawing some negative attention.
This location, designed by Morris Adjmi, is planned to be a 31-story condo and hotel unit project. It will be erected in a current parking lot wedged next to the park and will cast a shadow over the usual sunny landscape that goes a full city block. Park-goers have submitted a petition to the Planning Commission against the structure, pointing out the fact that the developer needs a special permit because the daylight evaluation is well below allowed zoning regulations. Critics also claim the Starwood Capital Group did not conduct a full environmental impact study to determine how this new structure and the additional guest & homeowner population will impact the park and surrounding community.
The bad publicity has people asking how a hotel can be green when its construction shows little regard for its new neighbor — one of the city’s most adored parks.
One thing is for sure, there are some bumps along the road to stardom that the Capital Group needs to address to meet their fifteen location goal. But then again the road to being number “1” was never easy, and it sounds like they’re onto a good start.