A photo of the Waldorf Astoria’s Park Avenue lobby before renovation. Anbang Insurance Group
It’s now targeting a 2021 completion
The conversion of New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria into a hotel and condo is moving right along, though it will take longer than first expected. Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese firm that picked the property up for nearly $2 billion in 2014, has announced that the initial pre-construction and demolition phase of the renovation has wrapped up and that AECOM Tishman, the project’s construction manager of record, will continue forward with creating roughly 350 condos and 350 hotel rooms within the formerly 1,413-key hotel.
Also nestled in that bit of news, as the New York Post noted, is a new completion date. When the hotel shuttered for renovations in March 2017, the teams behind it forecast a 2020 reopening date that’s now been pushed back to 2021.
But better not to rush a good thing; Anbang has been diligent about its commitment to spiff up the hotel’s lauded interior landmarks, including the grand ballroom and Peacock Alley.
The renovation, for which Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is the lead architect, will dramatically the number of rooms in the building—by about half—but with that will come new rooms and condos of uncharacteristically New York proportions. The approximately 350 condos will average 1,747 square feet a pop, with four condos topping the project spanning an impressive 6,100 square feet each. The approximately 350 hotel rooms will also be large, averaging around 650 square feet or, as the Post notes, twice the average hotel room size in Manhattan of 325 square feet.
For all of the forward momentum at the site, there’s still concern over whether Anbang Insurance Company will see the renovations to completion or sell the property before they’re finished. The Chinese government overtook the company in February over suspicions that its chairman had participated in illegal fundraising and abused his power.
The government then moved to sell many of Anbang’s U.S. investments, including the Essex House on Central Park South. Representatives for Anbang, however, told the Wall Street Journal in February that selling the Waldorf Astoria was not on the table.