BUSHWICK — A new boutique hotel complete with a rooftop swimming people is hoping to draw tourists away from Manhattan and into the heart of Brooklyn.
This week Richard Guishard of the Morgan Restaurant and Morgan Room and his business partner broke ground on 19 Bogart St. — three blocks from the Morgan L train stop — to begin building a five-story, salvaged-brick hotel that he said will include 63 guest rooms and four retail shops on the ground floor.
"This has to be done," said Guishard, a designer, who noted the inn would provide a much-needed launching point for visitors to the area's new art galleries, music venues and stores.
"The neighborhood has a romantic appeal…It’s industrial and yet incredibly safe."
Currently, the New York Loft Hostel welcomes guests right around the corner on Varet Street, but both Guishard and the hostel's management said the two businesses would serve different purposes.
"We generate a younger crowd," said the hostel's receptionist, Autumn, who declined to give her last name. "We have some private rooms, but they're small… We focus on being affordable."
Guishard, 35, whose Morgan Restaurant on Bogart Street recently closed, said he and his partner Andy Chau have planned to build a hotel there since purchasing the property.
"We'll open the restaurant again," he said of the Morgan, "but the main priority is to get the hotel up and running."
Guishard explained that he is designing the space with "big windows to let in natural light" and using old brick like that of Williamsburg's new Wythe Hotel to provide a "rustic look." He projected the new building would open in about 18 months.
But when Bushwick residents heard rumors swirling of a hotel breaking ground, many greeted the project with disdain, including Courtney Novak, 30, who recently opened a flea market on the previously vacant lot.
"As far as the integrity and quality of the neighborhood, I don’t think a hotel's going to do much," said Novak, who now must relocate her market. "I'd much rather have an event space or an art center of some kind."
What other local residents seem to want, however, remains unclear.
“There's construction all day now — there's going to be 24-hour noise here,” said Reid Bingham, who moved out of his building next to the future hotel Thursday because he said noise from the Morgan Room venue had shook his apartment all night.
“They've had 16-hour parties with bass you could feel through the windows," he said of the Morgan Room. "I feel terrible for the people still here."
Bingham's housemate Harry Merritt, who said they had broken their lease early because the Morgan's "giant rave party complex" was too much to bear, said he was not a fan of the hotel idea, but that it was not altogether surprising.
"This neighborhood’s been blowing up," he said. "The number of businesses opening here is staggering."
Guishard said he closed the Morgan Room specifically because of the noise issues, and that the last event there happened last weekend.
He noted that the unnamed hotel — whose prices have not yet been determined but will be "affordable" — would appeal to the local community with opportunities to collaborate with artists.
"I want the hotel to feel like a part of the neighborhood," Guishard said, hoping that stores like a wine shop, art store, gallery and a vintage store could be the establishments on the building's first floor space.
He also plans to include an arts-and-crafts room and a bar open to the general public.
"I don’t want to alienate the neighborhood," Guishard insisted. "I want people to come in!"