NEW YORK — Looking down into the construction site covering the 16 acres where the World Trade Center once stood, some might see a place shadowed by death.
But Cheryl Palmer sees a rebirth — and a business opportunity. She's vice president of Club Quarters, the company opening the World Center Hotel — and as far as she's concerned, the property's location on the edge of the site of the Sept. 11 attacks is a selling point.
"People choose to be here because they want to be close to it. They want to feel it, they want to celebrate. They want to remember," she said, standing by an open-air patio overlooking the site. "We have a very accessible view on it."
The hotel, which began taking reservations last month, offers some rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that open directly onto the construction. Guests and members will have access to the restaurant patio with views of giant cranes, jackhammers and metal scaffolding.
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It seems to be the first area hotel to use its proximity to the site as a marketing strategy. The carefully chosen name telegraphs the hotel's location to prospective guests. And visitors to the hotel Web site are greeted by construction photographs and memorial images.
The Millenium Hilton nearby offers similar views from most of its rooms — which were devastated in the collapse of the twin towers and then rebuilt in the following years. With 85 percent of the hotel's current employees carrying with them memories of working there at the time of the attacks, it still feels too soon to incorporate ground zero into its marketing plan, said Jan Larsen, general manager of the hotel.
"People are sensitive to maybe being perceived as taking advantage of a tragedy by utilizing that in any kind of promotional information," Larsen said. "We still get customers here who didn' t realize we were across the street from ground zero, and they get emotional about it."