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It’s time to buy a New York minute.
After getting pounded by the pandemic, the city’s timeshare industry is rebounding with two new, high-end developments arriving this year as visitors return to the city.
The Central at 5th by Hilton Club, a 34-story, new-construction tower at 12 E. 48th St. (which is, in fact, closer to Madison Avenue than Fifth Avenue) will open this year.
Its sister building, the Quin by Hilton Club, meanwhile, opened in June at 101 W. 57th St. on Billionaire’s Row after a year-long, $50 million-plus renovation that converted what had been an independently owned hotel.
The Quin is now Hilton Grand Vacations’ NYC flagship, boasting newly expanded penthouses with outdoor terraces.
Entry level pricing at the Quin starts at $32,000 for a 300-square-foot studio.
“This may well be the most exciting period of growth for us in the city since we entered the market,” said Hilton Grand Vacations executive vice president and COO Gordon Gurnik. “As the cost per square foot of owning an apartment outright in New York City has continued to rise, there are many advantages to considering timeshare as an option.”
These glitzy new projects hope to distance themselves from the high-pressure, low-value vacation units that have become synonymous with the word “timeshare,” while giving those eager to have an affordable launch pad in New York a roost.
Linda Marks, 63, a research manager at New York glassmaker Corning Inc., is a believer. She has owned with Hilton for about 15 years. But recently, she sold her timeshares in Florida, Las Vegas and at West 57th, and bought a slice of the Quin.
“When I owned at West 57th, I would look across at the Quin and wonder about who stayed there,” the Elmira, NY, resident told The Post. “When Hilton Grand Vacations took over, I decided this is where I want to be.”
A regular visitor to the city, Marks prefers the familiarity of the timeshare model over hotels.
“I know exactly where I’m going to stay and what the room looks like,” she said. “They know my preferences, like I prefer a room on a lower floor, because I like to listen to the traffic.”
She added that because of the explosion in Midtown real estate values, buying a permanent pied-à-terre in the city isn’t an option.
“The upkeep is all taken care of. They change my linens and clean up my room. I just show up and enjoy myself.”
“I wouldn’t be able to afford a place on West 57th Street,” she said. “I’m right near Lincoln Center and Times Square. The upkeep is all taken care of. They change my linens and clean up my room. I just show up and enjoy myself.”
While timeshares have enjoyed success in beachy getaways for nearly half a century — the first timeshare in the US opened in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1974 — the divided ownership model was late to arrive in NYC.
The first timeshare in Manhattan opened in 1996 at the Manhattan Club, on 56th Street and Seventh Avenue. But it wasn’t until 2009 that NYC saw its first purpose-built timeshare: West 57th Street by Hilton Club.
“It was a game changer,” said Mike Kennedy, a former West 57th Street sales rep.
But Hilton Grand Vacations, is hardly the only timeshare brand banking on NYC right now.
Club Wyndham’s Midtown 45 — a subsidiary of Wyndham Destinations, the world’s largest timeshare business with over 240 properties worldwide — opened in 2012, and is seeing renewed interest post-lockdown.
“Sales this year are up 30% on 2019,” said Michael Brown, CEO of Travel + Leisure Co., Wyndham Destinations’ parent company. “It’s a pied-à-terre without the high cost of purchasing real estate. The costs are transparent and you can match your expense to usage.”
Club Wyndham’s timeshares start at $21,000 for a 650-square-foot, one-bedroom abode.
The Phillips Club, a deeded fractional ownership model building in Lincoln Square, is also feeling the energy.
“From March 2020 to February of this year, we were basically dormant,” said Ed Schnatterly, the Phillips Club’s director of sales. “Then boom! People have jumped on lower pricing, which is already going up since January lows.”
Pricing at the Phillips Club starts at $170,000 for a 600-square-foot studio.
And for a sector of part-time New Yorkers, that is a steal.
“I don’t think of it as a real estate investment,” Marks said. “ I think of it as a vacation investment.”
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