So, Hilton Hotels is building a new property in New York City.

I’m confused about what is actually being built. Two different newspaper articles call the property a “timeshare”, but from the description, it sounds as if it’s actually a “fractional share”.

According to Wikipedia, a timeshare is usually a program where someone can pick and choose to spend a week’s vacation amongst a number of properties. Participants make an initial payment, up front, and then an ongoing fee, annually. Participants can choose to make a large investment, which would allow them to choose the most popular week of vacation (say, January in snow country, or July near Disney World), or a small investment, if they don’t really care what week they get.

Participants have no ownership stake in any one property – there are no deeds.

A fractional share, on the other hand, is a program where a participant buys into specific property, but shares ownership with a small group of other owners. The participant gets a specific week, each year. (Actually, most programs require each owner to buy three or four weeks, and there is usually from 12-16 share owners.) Participants receive deeds to the property. Participants may be able to trade weeks, or buy additional weeks, if available (obviously, if there are only 12 owners and each has four weeks, then there are four weeks leftover …).

The Hilton Hotel program sounds as if it’s a bit of a hybrid.

According to the New York Times:

It will have 161 studio, one-bedroom and penthouse units that will be sold as timeshares. [However] Owners will receive deeded interest in the units, with one week granted each year.

More time may be purchased, and each year the owners will accrue points that may be exchanged for time at this project or at another Hilton timeshare development (there are others in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Orlando, South Beach and elsewhere).

Of course, not everyone is pleased by this turn of events.

Here’s Ms. Snooty-McSnoot, in the New York Sun:

The editor of the new volume, “The Suburbanization of New York: Is the World’s Greatest City Becoming Just Another Town?” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007), Jerilou Hammett, said she fears the construction of new time-share complexes would mean the further gutting of the city’s once-famous grit.

“Timeshares occur in places that are relatively soulless, and they are both symptom and cause of that soullessness,” she sniffed.

“They attract people that don’t have to make an investment in learning what a city is about, they can just hop on a flight to Miami for two weeks, to Las Vegas for two weeks, and never have to get a sense of what a place is really like.”

Ms. Hammett said she is concerned that, with an increase in time-shares in the city, and with more and more people buying Manhattan apartments as investments — not homes — the city will begin to resemble cookie-cutter resort communities. “It doesn’t create a sense of shared space, and a sense of shared history and shared investment and shared destiny in terms of where people live,” she said.

Well, regardless of what type of ownership it offers or how it compares to other programs, it’s going to cost you from $40,000 – $120,000 to be a part of it. For that, you get a week’s vacation in NYC (there will be annual fees in addition to this investment).

Oh, don’t forget, I’m licensed in New York State, too!

(** This is not an offer to purchase real estate … **)

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Updated: 1st Q 2018

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