Anbang might convert 1,000 rooms at Waldorf into condos: report

Chinese insurance company paid nearly $2B for hotel in 2014
June 14, 2016 02:50PM

The Waldorf-Astoria and Wu Xiaohui (inset)

The Waldorf Astoria and Anbang’s Wu Xiaohui (inset)

The new Chinese owner of the legendary Waldorf Astoria is planning to turn up to 1,000 rooms at the storied Midtown hotel into condominiums.

Anbang Insurance Group, which paid $1.95 billion for the hotel at 301 Park Avenue South in 2014, may turn the vast majority of the hotel’s 1,400 rooms and suites into condos, sources told Crain’s.

The Chinese insurance company previously said it would convert the top floors of the 47-story hotel into “luxury residential apartments with world-class amenities,” as The Real Deal first reported in February 2015. “A potential buyer needs to have more than money to qualify for our apartments,” Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui said during a 2015 talk at Harvard University.

Anbang bought the Waldorf from Hilton Worldwide Holdings in a deal that closed last year.

The Chinese company subsequently filed plans with the city’s Department of Finance to carve out 1.2 million square feet, or roughly 75 percent of the building, for residential use, according to Crain’s. The Waldorf — with 1,232 hotel rooms — also has an 182-room boutique section called the Towers. Apartments are available for rent in the Towers.

But a company spokesman said plans for the hotel are up in the air. “We continue to explore all options,” the insurance giant said to Crain’s in a statement.

Last year, the City Council passed a law preventing hotels with more than 150 rooms from converting more than 20 percent into apartments without a public review. But recent deals, including the sale of the Waldorf, are exempt from the law. [Crain’s] – E.B. Solomont