Proposed rendering of the Park Avenue foyer, via Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
On March 1st, the Waldorf Astoria closed its doors to the public so that its new owners, Chinese insurer Anbang (who just today backed out of an even larger project to redevelop the Kushner Companies’ 666 Fifth Avenue) can undertake a two- to three-year renovation to convert 1,413 hotel rooms into 840 renovated hotel rooms and 321 condos, as well as spiff up the public spaces. This last part was worrisome at first, but earlier this month, these iconic Art Deco interiors were designated an official city landmark, meaning Anbang will need to preserve them and receive approvals for any work from the LPC. Wasting no time, they’ve now released plans for both the interior and exterior renovations and announced that architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and renowned interior designer Pierre Yves Rochon (PYR) will “protect [the] beloved spaces and restore original features of the Waldorf not seen for decades.”
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A rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue. Credit: Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects
“Kushner Companies is no longer in discussions with Anbang about 666 Fifth Ave.’s potential redevelopment, and our firms have mutually agreed to end talks regarding the property,” a spokesman for the developer told the Post. The timing of the Chinese insurance company backing out of the deal–which the Kushners hoped could increase the Midtown’s skyscraper’s value to a whopping $12 billion and include a flashy new Zaha Hadid design–is uncannily timed with investigations into Jared Kushner’s supposed meetings with a scandalous Russian bank. But despite the controversy surrounding ex-CEO and current White House advisor Jared, Kushner Cos. “remains in active, advanced negotiations around 666 Fifth Ave. with a number of potential investors.”
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666 Fifth Avenue, via Vornado
Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese company who bought the Waldorf Astoria in late 2014 for nearly $2 billion, is now making headlines for another high-profile real estate transaction, this time against a controversial political backdrop. Bloomberg reports that Anbang is considering a stake in Vornado and Kushner Companies’ office tower 666 Fifth Avenue, a deal that Jared Kushner reportedly set into motion before resigning as CEO of his family’s company to serve as a presidential advisor to his father-in-law. If the deal goes through, not only will the Kushners profit some $400 million, but they’ll receive an equity stake in the new partnership, which will refinance $1.5 billion in existing mortgage debt. The deal values the tower at $2.85 billion, and if Anbang’s receives its proposed $4 billion construction loan to turn the top floors into condos, it will be the largest such loan for a single property in NYC history.
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In news that will come as a surprise to no one, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously this morning to designate the interiors of the famed Waldorf Astoria a New York City landmark. According to Curbed, the decision was made within minutes without hesitation from any of the board members. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of the hotel’s closure just one week ago, as its new owners, Anbang Insurance Group, undertake what’s expected to be a three-year renovation and conversion that will bring forth 840 updated hotel rooms and 321 luxury condos.
more details here
The final checkout for hotel guests at the iconic Waldorf Astoria is March 1st, after which its new owner, Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group, will begin converting the 1,413 hotel rooms into 840 renovated hotel rooms and 321 luxury condos to the tune of $1 billion. Earlier this month, the developer filed these plans with the Department of Buildings, which also call for adding retail space, a restaurant, and a fitness center on the ground floors. They’ll retain the historic ballrooms, exhibition space, dining rooms, and banquet rooms, but will still need approvals from the Landmarks Preservation Commission for any work on these public spaces; the building has long been an exterior landmark, but the LPC recently calendared a request to landmark the Art Deco interiors. Though no designs have been approved or confirmed, CityRealty dug up renderings from architectural visualization firm ArX Solutions that show their vision of space*.
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Hilton Worldwide Holdings, who had owned the landmarked Waldorf Astoria since 1972, agreed in October 2014 to sell the 1,413-room hotel to Beijing-based financial and insurance company Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion. The deal closed the following February, along with plans from the new owners to convert part of the Art Deco building into luxury condos, and now the Wall Street Journal brings additional details on the conversion.
The overhaul, which could close the property for up to three years and cost upwards of $1 billion, would convert as many as 1,100 hotel rooms to condos, with the hotel portion featuring between 300 and 500 luxury guest rooms. Currently, the hotel employs about 1,500 people, but this major decline in hotel rooms will eliminate hundreds of jobs. Sources say Anbang and Hilton have already reached severance agreements totaling at least $100 million.
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image via KerSaber
Back in October, it was revealed that Hilton Worldwide Holdings, who owned the landmark Waldorf Astoria since 1972, had agreed to sell the 1,232-room hotel to the Anbang Insurance Group Co., a financial and insurance company based in Beijing, for $1.95 billion. The deal closed just last week, and now the new owners are planning to convert part of the Art Deco building into luxury condominiums. According to The Real Deal, Anbang’s chairman Wu Xiaohui recently said: “We plan to renovate the two towers into luxury residential apartments with world-class amenities and finishes to reflect its culture and social status.”
It’s where the Waldorf salad was invented; it was the first hotel to offer room service; and it has its own railway platform to Grand Central, large enough to fit FDR’s car. The historic tidbits about the Waldorf Astoria are plenty, but now the world-famous hotel is making big changes to its future.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings, who has officially owned the Art Deco landmark since 1972, has agreed to sell the 1,232-room hotel to the Anbang Insurance Group Co., a financial and insurance company based in Beijing, for $1.95 billion. Hilton, the world’s largest publicly traded hotel operator, will continue to manage the property under a “strategic partnership.”
More on the plans here