New York's famed Hotel Pennsylvania is safe from the wrecking ball, rescued by the economy rather than preservationists.
Plans to knock down the nearly century-old hotel, where jazz great Glenn Miller and his orchestra broadcast in the 1940s, and replace it with a 67-story office tower are "on the shelf," said Steven Roth, chairman of the Vornado Realty Trust, which has owned the building since 1998.
Although City Council approval of zoning changes for a tower to replace the 1,700-room hotel remains valid, the weak economy has led Vornado to switch gears.
"It's an interesting option to have, but it's not possible today," Mr. Roth said at an investor conference earlier this week. "We're not going to tear down the hotel. In fact, we're going to invest in it aggressively and try to make it into a really profitable, really good hotel."
Vornado declined to provide additional information about its plans for the building.
Mr. Roth, who will assume the additional role of CEO at Vornado on April 15, said the company is close to finding a partner and principal developer to help restore some of the hotel's former grandeur.
While its lobby retains traces of its origins and it still has the "Pennsylvania 6-5000" phone number made famous by Miller's orchestra, the Hotel Pennsylvania is now a budget-priced destination with a less-than-luxurious reputation among tourists.
The hotel averages 2 1/2-star reviews on travel websites and has been known for bed bugs, a common problem in Manhattan hotels.