In 2007, 123 West 44th was renovated and restored by Korman Communities, residential real estate innovators since 1914 and the original furnished apartment pioneers since 1966. The renamed the property AKA Times Square – a post residential hotel of 105 luxurious suites, including duplex penthouses with terraces. AKA knew what the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission knew in 1982, that the handsome facade with carefully executed brickwork with curving bays striking gables and dormers made the building one of the most prominent buildings in the theater district and that it’s history should be perserved.
In 1893 the development of the entertainment district in Times Square was booming and in 1894 developers William Rankin and Alexander Moore commissioned little-known architect George Keister to design a smart, residential hotel that could conveniently house well-to-do tourists and long-term occupants involved in theatre. When Hotel Gerard was completed it was the tallest building in the area with 13 floors. It was meant to impress, blending Renaissance, Gothic and Romanesque styles with bay windows, arches and balconies. High-ranking military officials, dignitaries from Russia, Siam, Austro-Hungary and Germany made the hotel a favorite among the theatre set.
In 1916 a fire in the kitchen had 350 guests in their Edwardian bed clothes scurrying into the street and caused $10,000 in damages. Some guests clambered over the roof to the adjoining theatre and down through the skylight.
In 1921 the now named Hotel Langwell found Harriet Pendleton Hunt, “of a well-known Cincinnati family,” arrested in her room for passing a worthless $10,000 check.
On October 29, 1923 a shoot-out among convicted bank robbers made the headlines.
In 1928 Metropolitan Opera diva Mme. Marie Rappold was drugged by a thief using a passkey to her room. $75,000 worth of jewelry was stolen.
William James Henderson, one of America’s most influential music critics shot himself; as did Washington Seligman, the brother of Mrs. Benjamin Guggenheim.
In 1934 during the Depression, the hotel was lost to foreclosure and sold at auction for $585,000. In 1950, it fell into foreclosure again and sold this time for $700,000.
As the Times Square area eroded, the once-proud hotel fell into hard times. Apartments which at one time boasted libraries and sitting rooms were now broken up into tiny single-room occupancys.
On January 25, 1969 a raid on the name named Langwell seized over $1 million in pornographic tapes.
By the time Seymour B. Durst owned it in the 1970s, it was desperatly in need of some TLC.
Enter Larry Korman who restored the property to it’s former glory and beyond. AKA balances style, hospitality, space and comfort, offering unabashed elegantly appointed luxury apartments. Specializing in short and long term stays, AKA Times Square mixes the energy of NYC with sophisticated accommodations. With amenities, location and a striking bi-level penthouse with breathtaking city views, sleek furnishings, AKA is ideal for relaxation inside and out.