Currently Reading

The massive facelift of New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria moves into Phase Two

Reconstruction & Renovation

The massive facelift of New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria moves into Phase Two

The refurbished hotel will feature fewer, but larger, guest rooms.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | August 21, 2018

The Park Avenue lobby within the Waldorf Astoria is one of the hotel's spaces that is a designated landmark. The iconic hotel is undergoing a complete reconstruction that is scheduled for completion in two years. Image: courtesy of Anbang Insurance Group

The nearly $2 billion reconstruction and renovation of the Waldorf Astoria New York is moving into its second stage of construction.

The iconic hotel, which opened at its current site in 1931, has been closed since February 2017, and is scheduled to reopen in 2021 (one year later than previously announced). With the interior demolition mostly completed, contractor AECOM Tishman has signed a new contract with Anbang Insurance Group, the property’s owner, to begin construction of 350 condominiums and 350 new hotel rooms and suites.

This project, which continues to operate under the Hilton brand, significantly reduces the number of hotel rooms available from its 1,413 guest rooms before the renovation began. However, the size of entry-level rooms after the renovation is completed will average 650 sf. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is the project’s Architect, and Pierre Yves Rochon is designing the interiors and guest rooms.

Prior to the start of this reconstruction, several of the hotel’s more famous spaces were granted landmark status by New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, including its West Lounge (better known as Peacock Alley), its Grand Ballroom, and its lobby from Park Avenue that includes 13 murals and a floor mosaic designed by French artist Louis Rigal.

Also included will be the restoration of the hotel’s nine-ft-tall clock, which has stood in the Waldorf’s lobby for decades.

“Anbang has imagined something truly spectacular for this global icon, and we look forward to delivering [its] vision,” says Jay Badame, President of AECOM’s Building Construction Business. All of the landmark spaces will remain open once the reconstruction is completed and the building is reopened.

The Waldorf Astoria is losing around 1,000 guest rooms as a result of its reconstruction and renovation, but the 350 that remain will average 650 sf. Image: (c) SOM | Rendering by Methanoia Inc.


China-based Anbang acquired the Waldorf from the Hilton chain in 2014 for just under $2 billion. Hilton continues to manage the property under a 100-year agreement.

A spokesperson for Anbang tells BD+C that the second construction and renovation phase will involve several core and shell elements, including the installation of new elevators, fireproofing, major MEP equipment, and a new HVAC system. During this phase the building’s exterior façade will be restored, and new windows and roof installed.

However, the future ownership of the Waldorf remains uncertain. Last winter, the Chinese government took over Anbang and jailed its largest shareholder, Wu Xiaohui, on fraud charges. The Wall Street Journal reports that Anbang is under pressure to raise cash and has put up for sale its $5.5 billion luxury hotel portfolio in the U.S., albeit excluding the Waldorf Astoria.

Related Stories

Cladding and Facade Systems | Sep 22, 2023

5 building façade products for your next multifamily project

A building's façade acts as a first impression of the contents within. For the multifamily sector, they have the potential to draw in tenants on aesthetics alone.

MFPRO+ Blog | Sep 21, 2023

The benefits of strategic multifamily housing repositioning

With the rapid increase in new multifamily housing developments, owners of existing assets face increasing competition. As their assets age and the number of new developments increases seemingly day-by-day, developers will inevitably have to find a way to stay relevant.

Adaptive Reuse | Sep 13, 2023

Houston's first innovation district is established using adaptive reuse

Gensler's Vince Flickinger shares the firm's adaptive reuse of a Houston, Texas, department store-turned innovation hub.

Adaptive Reuse | Aug 31, 2023

Small town takes over big box

GBBN associate Claire Shafer, AIA, breaks down the firm's recreational adaptive reuse project for a small Indiana town.

Adaptive Reuse | Aug 16, 2023

One of New York’s largest office-to-residential conversions kicks off soon

One of New York City’s largest office-to-residential conversions will soon be underway in lower Manhattan. 55 Broad Street, which served as the headquarters for Goldman Sachs from 1967 until 1983, will be reborn as a residence with 571 market rate apartments. The 30-story building will offer a wealth of amenities including a private club, wellness and fitness activities.

Government Buildings | Aug 2, 2023

A historic courthouse in Charlotte is updated and expanded by Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Robert A.M. Stern Architects’ design retains the original building’s look and presence.

Adaptive Reuse | Jul 27, 2023

Number of U.S. adaptive reuse projects jumps to 122,000 from 77,000

The number of adaptive reuse projects in the pipeline grew to a record 122,000 in 2023 from 77,000 registered last year, according to RentCafe’s annual Adaptive Reuse Report. Of the 122,000 apartments currently undergoing conversion, 45,000 are the result of office repurposing, representing 37% of the total, followed by hotels (23% of future projects).

Urban Planning | Jul 26, 2023

America’s first 100% electric city shows the potential of government-industry alignment

Ithaca has turned heads with the start of its latest venture: Fully decarbonize and electrify the city by 2030.

Multifamily Housing | Jul 25, 2023

San Francisco seeks proposals for adaptive reuse of underutilized downtown office buildings

The City of San Francisco released a Request For Interest to identify office building conversions that city officials could help expedite with zoning changes, regulatory measures, and financial incentives.

Sustainability | Jul 13, 2023

Deep green retrofits: Updating old buildings to new sustainability standards

HOK’s David Weatherhead and Atenor’s Eoin Conroy discuss the challenges and opportunities of refurbishing old buildings to meet modern-day sustainability standards.


More In Category


Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021