Chinese investment enigma Anbang Insurance filed a “test-the-market” application with the New York State Attorney General’s Office for its planned condominium conversion of part of the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The application reveals Anbang is now considering 409 apartments for the vintage skyscraper, up from the 321 it included in last fall’s filed construction plans.
Anbang shuttered the doors of the iconic, 1,413-key hotel on March 1 in order to begin conversion work. In November, the company filed its first construction plans with the city’s Department of Buildings. The company announced it would maintain the building’s distinctive art deco interiors last summer after facing pressure from preservationists (it’s now officially landmarked). Anbang famously bought the Waldorf Astoria from Hilton Hotel Group for $1.95 billion in 2014.
While the update points to a change in appellation—the project, at least for filing purposes, is listed as “The Towers at 301 Park Avenue” — a representative for Anbang said this is the legal name of the condo association and no formal name change is planned for the building or the hotel.
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According to Anbang’s November construction filings, the new Waldorf will still hold a significant number of hotel rooms, 840 on the fifth through 13th floors. It’s unclear if the company plans to alter this now or simply build smaller condos on the floors above the hotel. The company spokesperson said design remained ongoing.
CPS-1 or “test-the-market” condo applications are not binding and do not constitute a securities offering, so anything in the plans could change again before the final offering plan is filed.
Anbang’s chairman Wu Xiaohui remains bullish on the city’s luxury condo market at a time when when many seasoned investors have pulled back. Bloomberg reported on Monday that Anbang plans to invest $400 million and attempt to borrow another $4 billion for yet another ambitious conversion at Kushner Companies 666 Fifth Avenue. In a prospectus circulated to potential investors, the developers said they think the gamble will make the property worth more than $7 billion at the time of completion, the most valuable office or residential property in the U.S. by a mile.
Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner announced in January that he sold his stake in 666 Fifth Avenue to a trust controlled by family members, but no proof of this sale has been publicly recorded or released by Kushner Companies.