The man behind the Ace Hotel Empire

Another prominent opponent is Mr. Barron, the Ace partner whose ideas on the “nodal points” that the hotel seems to embody. During development, Mr Barron said, his relationship deteriorated with Mr Calderwood and with GFI Capital Resources Group, the company that invested $ 140 million in the project, to the point that Mr Barron broke down. withdrawn from any involvement.

“I didn’t want to be in big companies,” he said. He seemed to be under the impression that the developers – which even Ken Friedman of Breslin told me, not quite jokingly, were “duds, as most developers are” – ignored him, as did Mr. Calderwood, who had been surrounded, Mr. Barron thought, by sycophants and overwhelmed by New York itself, a “ruthless, demanding, rather inhuman place.” Mr Calderwood’s drinking didn’t really help, Mr Barron said.

“Just so you know, I take great pride in my sobriety,” Mr. Calderwood said. “You get to a certain age, and you get to a certain point, where you realize it’s just, like, dragging me down. It’s no longer fun. I don’t appreciate it. a stint in rehab, he has now been sober for five months.

Even so, the falling out represented a change in the direction of the Ace Hotel group. Mr. Calderwood is now buying the stake in Palm Springs, New York and the name Ace from his partners. To hear the partners say it, it was almost inevitable. Neither Mr. Weigel nor Mr. Herrick are particularly fond of traveling, each said, and Mr. Barron, who hasn’t visited Ace New York since it opened, admitted: “I think I’ve been proven that I was wrong in some ways – luckily. I think New York and Palm Springs seem to be doing well, but those weren’t necessarily the situations we wanted to work in, neither of us.

It appears that Mr. Calderwood accepts the dissolution of the partnership with the greatest ease. The New York hotel, he said, “feels like Ace – looks like we wanted.” And anyway, now he’s on the next project, an Ace in Los Angeles, or maybe Chicago, or maybe Tokyo – wherever he can meet cool artists and buy cheap lamps.

“For something like this,” he said, “there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle. It’s not just an interesting design, it’s not just the right choice of typeface, it’s not about finding the right frames or the right team – it’s all of those pieces of the puzzle. I love putting all of these puzzle pieces together. I go down on it.


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