In advance of Page Six, we’ve got the scoop on how Surface beat out André Balazs et al for the rights to the Rivington Street hotel. Herewith, an exclusive LS.com mini-interview with idea man Will Candis, conducted via phone and email.
LS: So, how did you land this gig?
WC: The hotel developer, Paul Stallings, was going to sell the building to André [Balazs]. They were literally days away from signing the deal. All these people literally begged for that building. Then I met Mr. Stallings. I knew then, on December 9th, the day I signed a nondisclosure agreement with him, that he was the man to make my dream a reality. He instantly grasped the concept and embraced it. This is after I had revealed my concept to two other hotel groups who believed that the concept would overshadow the “personality” of the hotel.
LS: So you’d been toying with the idea for a while?
WC: Yeah, I came up with idea in conjunction with the first W Hotel opening in NYC, back in 1998. I assumed that W Magazine was launching a hotel and thought, ‘Wow, what a great idea.’ It was disappointing to learn that the two aren’t related. Since then, I have been searching high and low for a hotel to open with Surface.
LS: Any plans for connecting the hotel to the neighborhood?
WC: Paul has been building on the Lower East Side for 20 years. He understands that the neighborhood doesn’t lend itself to becoming another Soho strip mall. We are going to be extremely pro-neighborhood. Were going to lend out services and sponsorships to businesses in the area. Were going to recruit employees from the area. We’ll give priority reservations in the restaurant if you call from the neighborhood. And our price points will be extremely friendly with food and the bar, although there will be more expensive options available, too. But you can come in and have a $6 Absolut and cranberry.More next week, as your trusty LS.com correspondent ascends the edifice. Got any questions or demands for Will? Drop us a line.