Ian Schrager

Article excerpt

Byline: Lloyd Grove

Business is good for the legend behind Studio 54. What the hip hotelier thinks of the economy--and Obama's reelection prospects.

Four years ago, well before the financial meltdown, you said your gut instinct told you we were headed for an economic correction.

I didn't realize it would be a paradigm shift.

What does your gut tell you now?

Usually these cycles last two to three years. This time it's going to be five, six, or seven years. I hope it's not going to be like what happened in Japan, when they had a lost decade.

You recently opened a new hotel in Chicago, President Obama's hometown. Has he been good or bad for business?

I don't really know. I think his health-insurance plan was a worthy thing to do. I'm not sure it's good to do at a time when the economy is so weak.

Some are predicting that there will be record foreclosures on hotels next year. Will you be acquiring them at bargain-basement prices?

I'm waiting for that, but so far this avalanche of opportunities hasn't happened. Interest rates are so low, and prices haven't even dropped yet, so that could be one explanation. …