Major renovation, changes planned for Waldorf Astoria

It looks like the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel on Park Avenue will be a changed place in a few years. The Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group Co. bought the property last year for close to $2 billion — the most ever paid for an American hotel. Now it will reportedly be completely overhauling it.

Sources familiar with the plans say that 1,100 of the hotel's 1,400-plus rooms will be converted to apartments. The remaining rooms will be upgraded. The property is scheduled to close next spring when the renovation will begin.

Anbang has yet to make an official announcement of its plans, perhaps because of the impact it will have on some 1,500 Waldorf Astoria employees, not to mention the New York residential real estate and hospitality business. A spokesman for the company said, "We continue to explore all options. We have no definitive plans at this time." The company will reportedly be meeting with representatives of the Waldorf over the next two weeks to finalize the plans for the $1 billion makeover.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc., which owns Waldorf Astoria hotels and resorts across the country, is slated to continue to manage the hotel after the renovations. The company has reportedly already made severance agreements with hundreds of Waldorf employees at a total cost of at least $100 million.

In New York City real estate transactions, whether they involve residential or commercial properties, there is generally a lot of money at stake. There are also strict state and local building codes and other regulations that need to be followed, or significant fines and litigation can result. That's why it's essential to have experienced New York City real estate attorneys by your side during these transactions.

Source: MarketWatch, "Waldorf Astoria hotel to be gutted, up to 1,100 rooms turned into apartments," Craig Karmin, June 27, 2016