A THREE YEAR AND BILLION DOLLAR RENOVATION HAS TRANSFORMED THE WALDORF ASTORIA NEW YORK INTO A CONDO/HOTEL HYBRID, WITH HOME SALES SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH IMMINENTLY
BY EVAN MONROE
When the “new” Waldorf Astoria opened in 1931 on Park Avenue (the older was razed in 1929 to make way for the Empire State Building), its iconic hexagonal tower tops capped at the time the tallest and largest hotel in the world. Its place in New York and United States history is seminal requiring far more pages than this issue allows to fully list the Art Deco (Schultze & Weaver designed) wonder’s defining moments, but among them is playing host to the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and John F. Kennedy (in fact, nearly every president since Hoover has graced the grand ballroom and/or expansive suites), along with Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, John Wayne, and Vince Lombardi. It was, for decades, nothing less than the high temple of the city social elite.
So, when Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group (now known as Dajia Insurance Group) announced in 2016 that the structure would be repurposed into a combination condo/hotel complex, conservationist concern ran rampant. Among other protections, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission declared its interior public spaces to be landmarks, guaranteeing that they be spared. As a consequence, the $1 billion renovation, which began in 2017, needed to be particularly deftly handled, with French interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot tasked with condominium interiors and amenity space design. Pierre-Yves Rochon, meanwhile, oversaw hotel public areas and interiors the result a sweeping restoration of spaces like the grand ballroom (which is now rendered almost exactly as it was in 1980), as well as the hotel’s famous four face clock, which dates to 1893 and is likewise fully restored. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was engaged as the renovation project architect.
The 375 apartments are scheduled to begin sales listing in the first quarter of this year. Amenity details were sparse at time of press, but homes average approximately 1,700 square feet, with larger ones boasting floor plans that include a library, entertainment room, walk in closets, and en suite baths. Plans range from studios to four bedrooms (the former starting at $1.7 million, with Douglas Elliman Development Marketing leading sales). Crowning residences are twin penthouses atop the pyramidical tower tops unpriced at the moment, but expected to fetch tens of millions of dollars each. The hotel portion of the Waldorf, part of the Hilton Group, will feature 375 rooms and is scheduled for 2022 completion.
“In times of uncertainty, people gravitate toward something that feels certain and constant,” explained Elliman Development Marketing President and Chief Executive Officer, Susan de França, to the Wall Street Journal, adding in a press release that “Waldorf Astoria New York is a historic symbol of timeless grace and boasts a pedigree unlike any residential real estate offering. We are honored to be appointed the exclusive sales and marketing firm for this extraordinary property.”
The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria
301 Park Avenue