Ascott to debut Citadines brand in US with purchase of New York Fifth Avenue property

Artist's impression of Citadines VN Faria Lima Sao Paulo. The New York acquisition follows Ascott's recent foray into South America.
Artist's impression of Citadines VN Faria Lima Sao Paulo. The New York acquisition follows Ascott's recent foray into South America. PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LTD

SINGAPORE - CapitaLand's wholly owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Ltd, will be opening its first Citadines serviced residence in the US after acquiring a prime property on New York's Fifth Avenue.

The operating 125-unit Hotel Central Fifth Avenue New York will undergo renovation in phases to prepare for its rebranding to Citadines Fifth Avenue New York in 2018.

Ascott will invest a total of close to US$50 million (S$68 million) in its latest property, which will boost its portfolio in the Americas to over 1,100 units across five properties.

The New York property is located at 15 West 45th Street along the prestigious Fifth Avenue shopping street and near Times Square, one of the world's most visited locations with more than 40 million visitors each year, said Ascott. It is also close to the Grand Central Station and easily accessible by subway and bus.

In 2016, New York City broke record with its highest ever visitor arrival - more than 60 million visitors - marking the seventh year of consecutive growth, said Ascott. Hotel room nights sold also increased by 1.2 million to 34.9 million nights last year, it added.

The New York acquisition follows Ascott's recent foray into South America through franchise agreements for two Citadines serviced residences in São Paulo, Brazil. Ascott's real estate investment trust, Ascott Residence Trust, also acquired the 369-unit Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel and the 411-key Element New York Times Square West hotel in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon said: "The debut of our Citadines brand in North America is a significant move to expand Ascott's global network of properties. Citadines is Ascott's fastest growing brand having more than tripled its portfolio since our acquisition of the Citadines Apart'hotel chain in Europe in 2004. We have since brought the brand to Asia Pacific, Middle East, South America and now the US.

He added that Citadines Fifth Avenue New York will fast-track Ascott's plans to expand our franchise business in North America.

"Franchise together with investments, management contracts and strategic alliances will continue to be key strategies to bolster Ascott's leading position as we strive towards our target of 80,000 units globally by 2020," he said.