Report: New Owners Closing Waldorf Astoria Hotel For 3 Years To Turn 1,100 Rooms Into Condos

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A New York City landmark will be shutting down for three years before re-emerging with a new look under its new(ish) ownership: the Waldorf Astoria Hotel will close in spring 2017 for renovations, and will emerge with about three-quarters of its rooms turned into luxury condominiums.

China’s Anbang Insurance Group, which bought the famed hotel from Hilton in October 2014 for $1.95 billion, is reportedly close to finalizing plans for major renovations that include turning about 1,100 of the property’s 1,413 rooms into private apartments that will be up for sale, The Wall Street Journal reported first, citing insiders familiar with the matter.

When the hotel reopens, it’ll have between 300 and 500 guest rooms upgraded to modern luxury standards. The move will eliminate hundreds of hotel jobs, the sources said, including housekeeping, room-service, and other hospitality positions.

Anbang and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. — which will still manage the property when it opens again — have reached severance deals with hundreds of workers for a total cost of $100 million or more, The WSJ’s insiders said.

Over the next few weeks, Anbang is planning to discuss finalizing the proposal with Hilton, some sources said.

“We continue to explore all options,” an Anbang spokesman said. “We have no definitive plans at this time.”

Although Anbang has stayed relatively mum on its plans for the Waldorf and has been keeping to itself after its failed bid to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in April, the company’s chairman Xiaohui Wu said in the past that he planned to convert hotel rooms into condos that would be pretty darn fancy.

“A potential buyer needs more than money to qualify for our apartments,” he told a crowd at Harvard University in early 2015.

Classic Waldorf Hotel to Be Gutted, Up to 1,100 Rooms Turned Into Condos [The Wall Street Journal]