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October 26, 2011

Countdown to the Clock Tower Hotel

Is New York's storied MetLife building on Madison Square Park set to become a Marriott?

The historic clock tower overlooking New York’s Madison Square Park has always been known as the MetLife Clock Tower. But, soon, MetLife may change to Marriott.

Marriott has purchased the famous clock tower, built in 1909 and modeled after the Campanile di San Marco in Venice. It was the world’s tallest building until the Woolworth skyscraper was constructed downtown. Fifty stories tall, the clock tower is crowned with a gilded cupola that remains illuminated at night — a stunning beacon of the New York skyline.

It is rumored that Marriott intends to turn the tower into an Edition hotel, part of a boutique brand led by Ian Schrager which has struggled to gain traction. Its Waikiki property, which Marriott manages, remains embroiled in a dispute with the hotel’s owners.

The MetLife clock tower has been courted by other big names before — Donatella Versace is said to have considered it for high-end condos, and Tommy Hilfiger was most recently interested in opening his own hotel. Marriott has reportedly paid $165 million for the tower.

The landmark building straddles the Flatiron district and the so-called NoMad neighborhood, which has become Manhattan’s hottest hotel hood — from the pioneering Ace Hotel to Gansevoort Park Avenue. At the tower’s foot is the wildly popular Shake Shack kiosk (with a year-round line for burgers) and just opposite the park is Mario Batali’s Eataly. The Italian food emporium has a rooftop beer garden, Birreria, which opened earlier this year.

And what’s the jewel in its panoramic views? You guessed it: the MetLife clock tower, of course.

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read more: 02. Sleep | boutique | historic

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