By Julie Shapiro
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The latest challenge to beset the owners of the World Center Hotel arrived early Monday morning: a large yellow crane.
The crane was set up directly in front of the hotel’s entrance on Washington Street, and it will remain there for at least the next three months, to help demolish the adjacent Deutsche Bank building.
While the crane is operating, from dawn until dusk, cars aren’t allowed to pull up to the hotel’s entrance, but rather have to drop guests down the block, at the corner of Washington and Albany Streets. Bellhops wait there to escort guests beneath a protected sidewalk shed and into the hotel.
"We’re offering free drinks to our guests to make up for the noise and inconvenience," said Jon Horowitz, a vice president with the hotel. "We’re prepared for every contingency."
Still, Horowitz said he was frustrated that the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which owns the Deutsche Bank building, "has not kept us informed or up-to-date about what’s going on."
A spokesman for the LMDC said the crane was necessary to remove steel from the lower floors of the building. After many delays and a 2007 blaze that killed two firefighters, the former skyscraper is scheduled to finally be demolished by the end of this year.
The World Center Hotel, which opened in June across the street from the Deutsche Bank building, has already faced a slew of challenges. Mid-way through construction, the hotel had to move its entrance from Cedar Street to Washington Street to make way for work at the World Trade Center site.
Several tourists who were staying at the hotel on Tuesday said they had trouble finding it because the street was blocked off, and it didn’t occur to them that they would be staying behind orange construction barriers.
Manoel Oliveira, 40, who is visiting from Brazil, said he wandered around several adjacent blocks before finally seeing the hotel’s signs.
"I lost myself," Oliveira said. "But I find it!"
Other guests said they were more concerned about the construction noise, which woke them up at 7 a.m. even though the hotel has double-paned windows that are supposed to muffle sounds.
Despite these problems, Horowitz said he was still pleased with the hotel’s location, which offers unique views of the World Trade Center rebuilding. And if the new crane helps take down the unsightly Deutsche Bank building sooner, "It can’t be a bad thing," Horowitz said.