BACKGROUND / CHALLENGE:
In 2012, GB Lodging – a New York hotel investment, development and asset management firm – purchased the Temple Court, a property on the edge of NYC’s financial district across from City Hall Park.
The iconic property had been vacant and unoccupied for several years although the owners had rented the venue for a few fashion runway events and retailer H&M once held a Great Gatsby-like party which included VIPs such as Kanye West and actors, Julianne Moore and Chace Crawford.
The Temple Court was built in 1881 and modeled after the famous Eponymous Barristers’ building in London. It was the first tall fireproof structure in New York City featuring a 10-story atrium with ornate iron railings, glass skylight and elevators.
GB Lodging retained WANT Branding to explore name options for this truly spectacular, one-of-a-kind hotel.
Prior to commencing the $500M renovation, the WANT team met our clients at the property entrance which was boarded up and padlocked. Despite the run-down state of the property inside, we marvelled at the ‘bones’ of the property, the sheer scale of the nineteenth-century architecture, the ten stories of terra-cotta, brick and balustrades, and glass-covered atrium.
We agreed upon a clear naming strategy and the types of names we should both pursue and avoid.
Our team explored a wide range of name options some of which had historical context. For instance, the original name ‘Temple Court’ was presented but rejected based on concerns about a hotel in London with the same name. ‘The Kelly’ was also considered as the building had originally been named the ‘Kelly Building’ after the Irish immigrant Eugene Kelly, a successful banker, who originally developed the building.
After creating hundreds of names and presenting around 40 in total to the clients at GB Lodging, we settled on the name ‘The Beekman’.
The name was selected partly because Beekman is an important family name whose roots in roots in New York City go back to 1647 when Wilhelmus Beekman arrived in New Amsterdam. Also, the property’s address at 5 Beekman Place would help visitors connect to the location.
The Beekman opened in 2016 to rapturous reviews from travel editors. London’s Telegraph commented, “With a central atrium and bar straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, the historic Beekman has rapidly gained a reputation one of the city’s most stunning hotels”. Conde Nasté Traveler remarked “Gorgeous design, two excellent restaurants, and a location in a newly revitalized downtown NYC neighborhood”. And, Travel + Leisure magazine said “one of the Financial District’s best hotel debuts in years…guests are often blown away by the nine-story Victorian atrium and skylight, as well as Martin Brudnizki’s interior design”.