July 19, 1946 |
New York City, New York, United States
|Spouse(s)||Rita Noroña (divorced)
|Website||The Ian Schrager Company|
Ian Schrager (born July 19, 1946) is an American entrepreneur, hotelier and real estate developer, often associated with co-creating the Boutique Hotel category of accommodation. Originally, he gained fame as co-owner and co-founder of Studio 54.
Early life and education
Schrager grew up in a Jewish family in Brooklyn. His father Louis owned a factory in Long Branch, New Jersey which manufactured women’s coats and died when Schrager was 19. His mother Blanche died when he was 23. In 1968 he graduated from Syracuse University with a BA and then earned a JD from St. John's University School of Law in 1971. While at Syracuse, he was a member and eventual president of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. It was through this fraternity that he met fellow brother Steve Rubell, whom he would eventually go into business with. In December 1975, after practicing law for three years, Schrager and Rubell opened Enchanted Garden, a disco in Douglaston, Queens. Seeing the success of Enchanted Garden, Schrager and Rubell decided to open a nightclub in Manhattan. They signed the lease for Studio 54 in January 1977 and 6 weeks later it opened.
Studio 54 Era
In January 1977, Schrager and Rubell signed the lease for Studio 54—which was originally the Gallo Opera House and had last been used as a CBS studio. They used the space's original theatrical infrastructure to constantly change the look and feel of the club. They dramatically reinvented the club's environment, size and design multiple times a night, creating new and exciting sets that completely transformed the space into something new. They often hosted special "one night only" theme parties for which the club completely metamorphosed with intricate sets and performance art.
In December 1978, Studio 54 was raided after Rubell was quoted as saying that only the Mafia made more money than the club brought in. In June 1979, Rubell and Schrager were charged with tax evasion, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy for reportedly skimming nearly $2.5 million in unreported income from the club's receipts, in a system Rubell called "cash-in, cash-out and skim." Police reports state that cash and receipts were in the building and were hidden in the ceiling sections of Rubell's office, where both he and Schrager worked. A second raid occurred in December 1979. The pair hired Roy Cohn to defend them, but on January 18, 1980, they were sentenced to three and a half years in prison and a $20,000 fine each for the tax evasion charge. On February 4, 1980, Rubell and Schrager went to prison and Studio 54 was sold in November of that year for $4.75 million. On January 30, 1981, Rubell and Schrager were released from prison after which they lived at a halfway house for two and half months.
On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, Schrager received a full, complete and unconditional Presidential Pardon from President Barack Obama.
After Studio 54, Schrager and Rubell opened their next nightclub, Palladium, in the old Academy of Music building in New York City. They enlisted world-renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki to reimagine the old music hall into a nightclub, while still maintaining the space's integrity. Palladium was the first of its kind in that art was the focal point of the club's experience. He collaborated with artists Francesco Clemente, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Kenny Scharf, and Keith Haring to create a curated environment. Large video installations lining the dance floor were "undeniably powerful" as part of the art and architecture; throughout the night multiple dynamic installations were featured as the screens were raised and lowered like pieces of a stage set. Schrager recognized the power great architecture had to influence an environment; working with Arata was just the beginning of his dabbling in architecture. He has since worked with architects, artists and designers such as Philippe Starck, Herzog & de Meuron, Andree Putnam, Julian Schnabel and John Pawson to name a few.
Morgans Hotel Group
In the 1980s, Schrager and his business partner Rubell turned their attention to hotels and found that their "on the pulse," keen instincts for the mood and feel of popular culture gave them a unique perspective that would allow them to significantly impact the hospitality industry just as they had done with nightlife. Their first hotel, Morgans, opened in 1984 and was an instant hit, introducing the boutique lifestyle hotel to the world. Following the success of Morgans, they opened the well received and highly successful Royalton Hotel and Paramount Hotel, both of them designed by Philippe Starck. With these properties, Schrager introduced "lobby socializing" whereby the hotel lobby became a new kind of gathering place for hotel guests and New York City residents alike and "cheap chic," where affordable luxury was offered in a stylish and sophisticated environment.
Schrager is also credited with inventing the "Urban Resort" with his Delano Hotel in Miami and Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, also designed by Starck. These were followed by the Hudson Hotel in New York, where he fully realized his concept "hotel as lifestyle" which he continued to refine, expanding to cities such as San Francisco with the Clift Hotel and London with St. Martins Lane Hotel and the Sanderson Hotel, all three designed by the prolific Philippe Starck. He stayed with the hotel business and went solo after he lost his partner Steve Rubell, who died of early exposure to AIDS on July 25, 1989.
Ian Schrager Company
In 2005, Schrager sold Morgans Hotel Group, a company he founded, to create Ian Schrager Company, which owns, develops and manages hotels, residential and mixed use projects. Since then, he has collaborated with Julian Schnabel to transform the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City (which he no longer owns). Schrager has also built two residential properties: 40 Bond and 50 Gramercy Park North. 40 Bond was designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as their first residential project in America.
Schrager has a new hotel brand, Public. Schrager's Public Hotel Chicago opened in 2011. It was Schrager’s first new project as an independent hotelier since 2005, after selling Morgans Hotel Group. Schrager later sold the Chicago hotel in 2016 to Gaw Capital Partners, based in Hong Kong. On June 7, 2017, Schrager opened the 367-room Public Hotel New York, at 215 Chrystie Street in the Bowery district. The Public Hotel New York claims to have the fastest hotel Wi-Fi in New York City, which will also be free. The idea behind Public New York is luxury for all. Charging an inexpensive rate for quality and service. 
Schrager’s latest venture is a partnership with Marriott International, intending to create a new brand of hotel with about 100 properties to be located in cities throughout North America and South America, Europe and Asia. Edition currently has four hotels Located in London, Miami Beach, New York City and Sanya (China). According to their website, new hotels are slated to open in Bangkok, Guragon, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Barcelona, Times Square - New York, West Hollywood - Los Angeles, Reykjavik - Iceland, Bali - Indonesia, Dubai and Singapore.
He married Rita Noroña, a Cuban ballet dancer, on Valentine's Day 1994. They have two daughters, Sophia and Ava. On November 15, 2008, he married Tania Wahlstedt (née Garcia-Stefanovich), a former ballerina with the New York City Ballet. She has two daughters, Amanda and Lili Wahlstedt, from a previous marriage. They have a son, Louis. Schrager has a $20 million home in Southampton, New York.
- De Lollis, Barbara (2010-10-14). "Boutique hotel guru Ian Schrager: Can hotel lighting be too dark?". USA Today.
- The Guardian: "The king of Manhattan is backMammon: Ian Schrager won his style spurs with Studio 54. Now he unveils a cool new look for his hotels" by Nick Mathiason October 24, 2004
- Evening Standard Magazine: "The Hippest Hotel Guy" By Charles Gandee retrieved October 13, 2012
- "Tania Wahlstedt and Ian Schrager". nytimes.com. 2008-11-15. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
- Colacello, Bob (1996). "Anything Went". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast.
- Martin, Douglas (1988-07-11). "New Yorkers & Co". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
- New York Media, LLC (22 July 1985). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. pp. 28–39. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- Nir, Sarah Maslin (2017-01-18). "On Obama’s Pardon List: A Hotel Magnate Who Owned Studio 54". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
- Goldberger, Paul (1985-05-20). "An Appraisal; The Palladium: An Architecturally Dramatic New Discotheque". The New York Times.
- Stodghill, Ron (19 August 2007). "A Hotelier Is Breaking the Mold Once Again". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- Andrew Abrahams (December 10, 1990). "With Prison and Steve Rubell's Death Behind Him, Studio 54's Ian Schrager Is Back on Top with a Hot New Hotel". People.
- Justin Davidson (September 24, 2007). "Bond’s Latest Gadget". New York.
- Williams, Alex (June 7, 2017). "Life Lessons of Ian Schrager". The New York Times.
- Stodgehill, Ron (2007-08-21). "Going Boutique: Ian Schrager and Marriott forge a partnership". International Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
- Brozan, Nadine (1994-02-12). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
- Colman, David (June 3, 2009). "White Looks Right". Elle Decor.
- Adams, Charlene (May 23, 2015). "Billionaire Lane: From fashion designers to real estate tycoons and Wall Street financiers. Meet those who live on the East Coast's most exclusive 5-mile stretch with a private beach and helipad". Daily Mail.
- Ian Schrager Company – official site
- Ian Schrager personal bio
- Ian Schrager discography at Discogs
- Gramercy Park Hotel site