Waldorf Astoria

NEW YORK CITY — The iconic 47-storey Waldorf Astoria New York could close for up to three years to convert as many as 75 per cent of its 1,413 guestrooms into private apartments beginning next spring.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal on June 26, the Waldorf’s owner, China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co., is rumoured to be in the process of finalizing plans for the conversion. After the hotel reopens, it could feature anywhere from 300 to 500 luxury hotel guestrooms and up to 1,100 private condo units.

The renovations could lead to the elimination of many room-service, housekeeping and various hospitality jobs. The hotel has approximately 1,500 employees, but the Wall Street Journal reports severance agreements have been reached with hundreds of the Waldorf’s employees for approximately $100 million.

Anbang has not confirmed any of these potential plans. “We continue to explore all options,” says an Anbang spokesman. “We have no definitive plans at this time.”

If the renovations are approved, it could cost more than $1 billion. This comes on top of the $1.95 billion Anbang paid to acquire the property in late 2014 from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., which was the highest sale price for a U.S. hotel in history. It remains unclear how the hotel’s 90 per cent year-round occupancy rate could be affected.


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