NEW YORK— The Setai condo hotel under construction at Fifth Ave. & 37th St. will be the Setai's second flag in Manhattan after a property in the Financial District.
Scheduled to open in 2011, the Fifth Ave. Setai will have 160 regular hotel rooms at the base of a 57-story tower, 60 condo hotel units in the middle of the tower, and approximately 200 wholly-owned condominium apartments at the top of the tower.
The first Setai is in South Beach, Miami.
Wine & dine with tax in mind - Restaurant owners are eagerly optimistic Congress will restore the full meal deduction in order to boost the economy, create jobs
Meeting clients face-to-face is more important than ever in a bad economy — and if that encounter happens over a meal in a restaurant, the check is a business expense that’s 50 percent tax deductible. The restaurant industry, reeling from the consumer-spending slump, is lobbying Congress to restore the full meal and entertainment tax deduction, which was cut during the 1986 tax law overhaul from 100 percent to 50 percent.
A bill in Congress would raise the deduction to 80 percent as a first step; the National Restaurant Association said this could boost restaurant revenue by $6 billion a year, pumping $18 billion into the economy.
Francis Schott, co-owner of the Stage Left restaurant in New Brunswick, said restoring the 100 percent meal deduction is a matter of simple justice, since nearly every other business expense — travel, hotels, gifts for clients — is fully deductible.
Restaurants are labor intensive, meaning they create jobs when revenue rises, he said. Stage Left closes for lunch Monday to Thursday, but if the full tax deduction is restored, “the next day, I will open for lunch all week, and I would have to hire people in order to do it,” Schott said.
Deborah Dowdell, president of the New Jersey Restaurant Association, said her industry has waged a losing battle to restore the deduction ever since it was slashed more than two decades ago.
So why should this year be any different?
“The reason we are optimistic is related to current tax policy and attitudes in Washington,” Dowdell said. “Congress is looking for a way to stimulate the economy, and this is a targeted policy that would create jobs.”
Attitudes have shifted, she said. In the 1980s, the meal deduction was painted as a “three-martini lunch” abuse of the tax system; today, the country is in the grip of massive layoffs and widespread business failures from the recession. And as restaurant meals have declined during the downturn, thousands of low-wage workers have been laid off.
Whether or not Congress sides with the restaurant industry, the 50 percent deduction is the law right now. And taxpayers who take advantage of it must keep good records to show the IRS in the event they are audited, said Alex Serrano, a partner at the Springfield accounting firm Citrin Cooperman.
“You need to maintain a contemporaneous record in a diary, along with your receipts,” he said. “In your diary, you need a sentence or two as to what business was discussed.” And don’t wait until the end of the year and try to reconstruct your diary, he said.
Businesses are slashing expenses to survive the recession, but they are still doing deals over meals, Serrano said, as “it’s always a good idea to stay in touch with customers and develop business.”
Martin Stein, president of the New Jersey Society of Enrolled Agents, said the Internal Revenue Service watches for high levels of meal and entertainment deductions. “If you have a high percentage of deductions in relation to your gross revenue, of course they will look at it. They have their own stats on what is the norm for your industry.” Enrolled agents are licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department to represent taxpayers before the IRS.
Betsy Alger opened The Frog and the Peach restaurant in New Brunswick in 1983, and saw an immediate drop in lunch business when the tax deduction was slashed three years later.
Restoring the full tax break “is long overdue,” she said. “Other industries have gotten huge bailouts, and small businesses have gotten nothing. Restaurants employ a tremendous number of people, and if they are working, they are not collecting unemployment.”
Barbara Kauffman, executive vice president of the Newark Regional Business Partnership, said even with businesses cutting back, “people still need to get together in person and make connections.” She often goes to the Theatre Square Grill, in Newark, “because I know I’ll bump into people I need to have a conversation with.”
Robert Zelnick, chief executive of the Alternative Board, an organization that brings businesses together in groups, said it’s essential to maintain personal relationships during a recession.
“The meals can be less expensive and fancy, but nothing is better than face time with people,” he said. “Your competitors are out there discounting to get business. Unless your customers have a relationship with you, why wouldn’t they be inclined to buy cheap?”
By Beth Fitzgerald
CHILEWICH | Since 1997, Sandy Chilewich has worked from her New York based studio applying her interest in color and experimentation with fibers to create the company's signature vinyl textiles-the durability of the yarn, its tremendous design versatility and the fact that it is stain resistant and truly washable continues to inspire her.
Using both traditional and modern manufacturing techniques, her use of yarn fuses style and sophistication to create innovative textiles and original designs for modern use.
Chilewich products fuse sophistication and style to create a modern alternative to tabletop dressing. The durability of the yarn, its tremendous design versatility and the fact that it is washable, helps hotels and restaurants reduce both energy and laundry costs while maintaining a sophisticated aesthetic. Placemats and table runners are available in an array of textures and colors-we can also customize our Spun Vynyl, Woven Lattice and signature woven vinyl products to fit your requirements such as non-standard placemats, tray liners and table covers.
With a palette of rich, subtle colors that range from natural earth tones to lustrous metallics, Chilewich textiles are used for placemats, table runners, flooring, custom mats and accessories. All Chilewich products are made entirely in the USA and sold around the world.
The Chilewich design studio, office and showroom are located at 44 East 32nd Street, New York NY 10016.
Sandy Chilewich is very proud of the fact that the products are designed and manufactured entirely in the USA. Chilewich operates a 40,000 square foot warehouse in Chatsworth, GA.
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ORLANDO,FL— Hilton Worldwide has opened the 497-room Waldorf Astoria Orlando
and the 1,000-room Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek here.
Hilton chose an auspicious day, Oct.1, for the opening of the complex. The original Waldorf Astoria in New York opened on that date 78 years ago.
Among the guests at the opening ceremonies, which celebrated the opening of both hotels, were Florida governor Charlie Crist and Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer.
The Waldorf features the first ever Waldorf Astoria Golf Club and WA Kids Club as well as a branch of the Waldorf Astoria Spa by Guerlain.
The 482-acre Bonnet Creek development is surrounded on three sides by Walt Disney World and includes a private nature preserve.
Kor Becomes Viceroy Hotel Group
LOS ANGELES, CA—Kor Hotel Group has officially changed its name to Viceroy Hotel Group. The change reflects the company's growth as well as its commitment to the Viceroy Hotels & Resorts brand.
Since debuting in 2002 with the Viceroy Santa Monica, the Viceroy brand has grown to include properties in Palm Springs, Miami and Anguilla. The brand's first mountain resort in Snowmass, CO is set to open by the end of the year. An additional hotel in the Middle East is slated to open in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2012.
Although the company is changing its name to Viceroy Hotel Group, it will continue expanding both its Tides brand as well as its portfolio of independent hotel properties.
LIVINGSTON, NJ—The Briad Group will increase its portfolio by 40% this year with three new properties under construction.
The owner, developer and operating company currently has seven hotels open in the Northeast U.S. Under construction are a Residence Inn in Branchbug, NJ; a Homewood Suites in Allentown, PA; and a SpringHill Suites in Yaphank, NY. The three new properties total 336 rooms.
News from our manufacturer's & re-posts from publications around the hotel and restaurant industry.