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Condos to Top Hotel Rooms at Revamped Waldorf Astoria

Midtown, Manhattan

Waldorf Condos
Nov. 20, 2017

Today’s pop quiz: New York City currently has way too many: a.) hotel rooms; b.) luxury condo apartments; c.) tourists; d.) all of the above. 

No brainer! Any sane person would answer d). The Chinese insurance giant Anbang, however, has answered a.), the New York Post reports. Since shuttering the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel this spring and announcing that it would turn some of the 1,413 hotel rooms into luxury condo apartments, Anbang has been quiet about its precise plans for the Park Avenue landmark. The company now says the renovated structure will contain just 350 hotel rooms, while the vast majority of the building’s square footage – other than ballrooms, restaurants and the legendary lobby – will be used to build 350 luxury condos. In 2015 the City Council passed a law banning hotels with more than 150 units from converting more than 20 percent of the property into residences for two years without going through a lengthy review process. But the Waldorf is exempt because the sale to Anbang happened before the ban went into effect. Anbang has hired Aecom Tishman to begin the massive renovation project.

News that the renovated Astoria property will lose more than 1,000 hotel rooms was not warmly welcomed by Hilton, which sold the hotel to Anbang for $2 billion and still has a 100-year agreement to manage the hotel space. Hilton is concerned that downsizing the Waldorf’s flagship on Park Avenue will weaken the chain of nearly 30 Waldorf-branded properties that Hilton operates worldwide, according to sources. 

Since closing the hotel six months ago to prepare for the renovation, Anbang has been busy securing permits, working on design plans, and preserving some of the property’s storied items, including the Cole Porter piano, the Kennedy rocking chair, the World’s Fair clock tower, and the MacArthur Desk. The good news: the loss of more than 1,000 hotel rooms means there will be fewer places for c.) tourists to stay.

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