Anbang Spiffs Up Waldorf Astoria to Reopen It in 2021
As Anbang's financial struggles continue, its best bet remains getting the Waldorf Astoria modernized and open for business. As the renovations drag on, though, one has to wonder if Hilton will simply open a new property in New York City. Anbang Insurance Group Co. is moving forward with renovations to Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria amid expectations the embattled Chinese company will sell other U.S. hotels. The insurer, which began demolition work at the Waldorf last November, has signed a contract with Aecom Tishman to cover the second phase of the project, according to a statement Tuesday. The hotel is expected to reopen in 2021 with about 350 condos, 350 hotel rooms and architecturally preserved public spaces, Anbang said. Anbang's plans for the famed Park Avenue property has been fodder for speculation ever since the company acquired it for $1.95 billion, a record price for a U.S. hotel. Questions about the Waldorf's future have only increased as Chinese companies face government pressure to reverse debt-fueled buying sprees and return capital invested overseas. Anbang has held talks to sell a collection of luxury hotels that it bought from Blackstone Group LP in 2016, Bloomberg has reported.