Hotel Development Tycoon Retires From Real Estate

The hotelier will also reduce his hotel holdings from 31 to 10.

(NEW YORK, NY) — A change in New York hotel zoning is turning Sam Chang away from his prominent McSam Hotel Group to a new hobby: pigeon racing.

After a zoning amendment, approved by the New York City Planning Commission last year, took 45 percent of as-of-right land away from hotel developers, Chang told the Wall Street Journal he will revisit his childhood hobby of racing homing pigeons in Taiwan.

Painted racing pigeons

The hotelier will also reduce his hotel holdings from 31 to 10.

The hotel rezoning was part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to re-energize manufacturing in the city, according to The Real Deal, likely the result of union lobbying weary of an unchecked rise in hotels with non-union staff. Chang, whose line of hotels employed non-union staff, frequently found himself at odds with hotel trades.

The McSam Hotel Group has opened more than 70 hotels in New York City, and sold 50 of them, according to The Real Deal.

“It’s always been my dream to own a hotel on Fifth Avenue,” Chang told the Journal.

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