By Lois Weiss | August 5, 2014 | 1:29pm
Photo: Pelli Clarke Pell
The Hotel Pennsylvania may not be safe from the wrecking ball after all.
Vornado chief Steve Roth revealed Tuesday that financial firms have approached the real-estate powerhouse about resurrecting its plans to raze the famed hotel opposite Madison Square Garden and replace it with a 3 million square-foot tower, known as 15 Penn Plaza.
“We are getting very interesting intriguing incomings as to office tenants that might want that site,” Roth said during a conference call.
“We are putting our big toe in the marketplace to explore the opportunity to land a major anchor tenant for the site and the Penn Plaza district,” he added. “We are up to our eyeballs in it, but there is nothing specific we are able to go public with.”
Vornado shelved plans to build a tower to house new trading floors for Merrill Lynch after the brokerage firm backed away from the deal in 2007. Less than a year later, Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch as it teetered on the brink of collapse.
“We have a 3 million square foot financial services-oriented tower, which was designed for a huge financial services company that we had a deal with that went away during the Great Recession,” Roth recalled. “It is sitting on our shelves.”
The plans for the 68-story tower, which would rise almost as high as the nearby Empire State Building, also had been criticized by that building’s ownership for potentially ruining the skyline of New York.
Vornado finally shifted gears in March 2013, as The Post first reported, and announced plans for a massive renovation of the Hotel Pennsylvania, which would have the added benefit of improving the neighborhood where Vornado has extensive holdings.
But now, the Hudson Yards neighborhood to the west is gathering steam with a new park, major towers and big-name tenants, leading more companies to consider all the area sites and options.
While Roth said the roughly $300 million hotel renovation has been put “on hold,” the firm will go down one of two paths — either landing an anchor tenant for a new tower or a renovation of the hotel that would still generate more income and improve the neighborhood.
Roth, who acknowledged that the transformation of the neighborhood won’t be a short-term endeavor, said: “It’s three or four blocks in the city of New York on top of the busiest train station in North America.”