The Waldorf Astoria New York which was sold back in 2014 to Chinese insurer Anbang for close to $2B will finally begin their renovations this month after closing down in March.
When Anbang purchased the Waldorf for almost two Billion USD that created a huge stir, not only because of the size of the transaction but also because the new owners were Chinese. In a (in my opinion baseless) fear that the hotel would be bugged, even the U.S. Department of State blacklisted their staff from staying there.
After spending such a huge amount of money on the New York icon Anbang now hired established architects and designers to lead the project who have done similar such hotel renovations in the past, though doing the Waldorf Astoria is certainly a class of it’s own.
You can access the Waldorf Astoria press release here.
Anbang Insurance Group New York Office (“Anbang”) and AECOM Tishman, the premier global construction firm, announced today that the first phase of construction work to renovate and restore the historic Waldorf Astoria New York will begin in December.
Since the Waldorf Astoria New York achieved the designation as New York City’s largest private interior landmark, Anbang has made significant progress towards renovating the property. The development team has advanced design plans, secured permits and carefully moved, preserved and stored prized historic items, including the Cole Porter piano, the World’s Fair Clock Tower, the Kennedy Rocking Chair, and the MacArthur Desk. The company has now appointed AECOM Tishman to spearhead the first phase of construction. …
The Waldorf Astoria New York will feature restored public and event spaces, approximately 350 new guest rooms and suites, and approximately 350 residences.
In 2014 Anbang Insurance Group acquired the property from Hilton Worldwide (the hotel was actually owned by the company itself). An agreement was made with Hilton to continue to manage the property under a 100-year management agreement.
In the last few years the Waldorf has really lost most of it’s shine and former glory, however most of the time the rates that were available there were often very competitive especially given the location. I’ve often paid way below $200 a night and sometimes even received suites at such low rates. Using points never made any sense because the hotel was priced above and beyond anything reasonable (60,000 points per night) and not corresponding to the rates charged.
To renovate and completely overhaul the building will cost a fortune on top of the purchase price. Nevertheless the result will be a magnificent New York City building. I don’t get the animosities against Anbang when the purchase was completed as any U.S. entity could have bought it or maybe even Hilton themselves could have renovated it. It’s a huge investment though with hotel companies not owning as much real estate anymore in the first place and rather just charge franchise fees. Nobody wanted to step up to the plate, then Anbang bought it and suddenly people shouted ‘boo’.