Photo via Wikimedia
When the iconic Waldorf Astoria closed in 2017 for the massive renovation promised when Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group acquired it in 2014, the hotel’s future held jumbo condos and massive guest rooms. The fate of the Park Avenue landmark has been a topic of drama and discussion ever since, especially given the takeover of Anbang by the Chinese government after the incarceration of the company’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, last year during a fraud investigation. The New York Post now reports that although contractor AECOM Tishman has signed a deal with Anbang and construction is underway for the promised 350 condos and 350 hotel rooms, the project’s completion date has been moved from 2020 to 2021.
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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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