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This policy brief considers the impact and implications that the recent proliferation of hotel development has had on neighborhoods and land use patterns in New York City. It calls for expanding the use of special permits to guide this development citywide. The tourism and hospitality sector has grown dramatically in the city and this growth, in concert with the economics of the hotel industry, has made hotel development extremely profitable. 

Meanwhile many other land use objectives, from office uses to manufacturing to affordable housing, are undermined by this rampant growth. New York City needs a diverse economy that includes a healthy tourism sector; however, the growth of land uses associated with this sector should be balanced with other land use needs. The creation of a special permit process for hotels would provide the opportunity for communities and elected officials to balance competing land uses, to channel hotel development to where it is most appropriate, and to negotiate for better quality hotel jobs that can potentially go to local residents.

Cover image for Hotel Development in NYC, published in February 2015

Project Status

Completed 2015


  • Research & Analysis
  • Urban Planning
  • Policy


  • New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council


  • Publication