It seems that yet another New York City landmark has met its maker. The historic Waldorf Astoria hotel on Park Avenue will shutter its doors for three years this coming spring, converting its 1,413 rooms into just 300 luxury guest rooms, according to the Wall Street Journal. The remaining rooms will be renovated and sold off as condominiums. While an upgrade is reportedly long overdue, the renovations will dramatically alter an 85-year-old institution; one that has housed every American president since Herbert Hoover as well as Frank Sinatra and Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The Waldorf once gained worldwide notoriety for its lavish parties and famous clientele, attracting guests such as Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedys, Grace Kelly, and Winston Churchill.
The $1 billion changes are currently being finalized by the new acquirer of the hotel, Anbang Insurance Group Co., who already spent $1.95 billion just to acquire the hotel last year. The reduction will also put a significant amount of the hotel's 1,500 employees out of a job—a move that will cost the new owners roughly $100 million or so in severance agreements.
While Anbang Chairman Xiaohui Wu has revealed little in the way of his future vision for the storied hotel, he did place an emphasis on exclusivity when speaking to an audience at Harvard University last year. "A potential buyer needs more than money to quality for our apartments," said Wu, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal. "If you become an employee of Anbang, you will be entitled to a free dinner and a free room night when you get married."
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