Jimmy Buffett thrives off kitsch. The hokey musician, best known for jukebox hits like “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Why Don't We Get Drunk,” has established a veritable empire. His Broadway musical, Escape to Margaritaville, just arrived on the Great White Way this year. Buffett’s company, Margaritaville Holdings, has established a national chain of resorts and restaurants themed around his chillaxed tunes. And this week, news broke that Buffett and associates are bringing a Margaritaville Resort Hotel to Times Square.
The 29-story, 234-room space will be located at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 40th Street. The place will bring a collection of Jimmy Buffett concepts into a single building, including a Maragritaville Restaurant, a 5 o'Clock Somewhere Bar, a Floridays Airstream Café and an entirely new (yet presumably similar) brand, Chill Bar. The hotel will also house a LandShark Bar & Grill and will have a rooftop bar, which ought to be, well, quite something. The entire project will cost $300 million to complete and is expected to open in late 2020.
Bringing a Margaritaville Resort to New York City sounds like a bit of a misguided proposition until you remember that it’s heading to Times Square, home to the world’s busiest Olive Garden location.
“The Margaritaville Resort Hotel and the lifestyle experience it offers will be the perfect complement to the exciting, fast-paced energy of Times Square, and we can’t wait to bring this destination to the travelers and residents of New York City,” Margaritaville CEO John Cohlan said in a statement that crassly ignores the fact that New Yorkers did not in any shape or form ask for this.
It’s hard to say how the hotel will fit into the perpetual kitsch of Times Square, though the company’s press release does offer some insight. It says that the brand is “synonymous with fun and escapism,” which could easily double as a slogan for black tar heroin. In any case, buckle up—midtown is going to get a hell of a lot more “chill” come 2020.