Waldorf Astoria owner gives preservation assurance
The new owner of Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria said it will work with New York City officials to maintain the hotel interior’s distinctive Art Deco details after preservationists raised concerns that a condominium conversion may threaten them, Bloomberg reported.
Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese insurance company that last year bought the hotel for US$1.95 billion, disputed assertions by the New York Landmarks Conservancy preservation group that it had refused to support landmark protection for the hotel’s interiors during a meeting of representatives of both organizations.
“Anbang has never said it is opposed to landmark designation,” spokesman Jeremy Soffin said. “We are committed to working cooperatively and collaboratively with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to achieve an outcome that respects and reinvigorates the Waldorf Astoria for the next 100 years.”
Anbang become one of the world’s most prominent real estate buyers with its acquisition of the 1,413-room Waldorf Astoria, paying the highest price ever for a single existing hotel in the US. The Park Avenue property is scheduled to close in the spring for a multiyear retrofit that will probably see most of its rooms converted to luxury condos, according to a person with knowledge of the plans.
The plans sparked concern among the city’s preservationist groups. The Art Deco Society of New York posted a notice on its website headlined “Deco in Danger,” warning that the hotel “would be gutted and turned into condos.”