With the Chinatown Holiday Inn being converted into a "high-end cutting-edge destination" boutique hotel by the secretive monolithic enterprise Highgate Holdings, the area has begun its walkabout from slightly gritty ethnic enclave to gleaming diorama of "New York City." As the Post's Cuozzo reports, the Highgate hotel at 138 Lafayette will fully embrace the "downtown aesthetic," recruiting Edison-bulb-loving firm AvroKo and bringing in Marc Packer of Tao and Richard Wolf of AvroKo-designed Stanton Social.

But the area's more than just a one-boutique hotel quarter. DBTH reports that that property will be joined by another boutique hotel: Morgan Hotel Group's The Mondrian. As one might expect from a hotel named after a neo-plasticist painter (a form of rigid Abstractionism!), details on the new hotel are sparse. One can however look at LA's Mondrian hotel for a clue. If the West Coast version is any indication, expect Starck's usual over-the-top design and perhaps even a Chodorow Asia de Cuba. The hotel will be taking up the space of 150 Lafayette. Until recently, located there was the China Town Dialysis Center but clearly luxury hotels have the bobo cachet that renal replacement therapy lacks.