Waldorf Astoria condo conversion costs skyrocket to $2B, exec quits

Costs have gotten so out of control that at least one real estate honcho is checking out of this storied stay.

Manhattan’s iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel’s slow conversion, which will add 375 condos, is now running years behind schedule and proving massively more expensive than initially anticipated, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The project was supposed to be completed by 2021, but is now at least two years behind and so egregiously over budget that a principle person overseeing the project quit last week. 

The US chief executive of the hotel’s owner, the Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group Co., which bought the Waldorf for a record-breaking $1.95 billion in 2015 — suddenly exited the project late last month, to shock of some of its New York staff.

The condo conversion is looking to be of record-breaking cost and complexity.
Corbis via Getty Images

Work on the shuttered hotel may continue into 2024 and costs are anticipated to run to over $2 billion, insiders told the publication. Combined with the purchase price, that means the project may cost more than $4 billion in total, giving it the dubious honor of being one of the most expensive hotel to condo conversion projects of all time. 

The pandemic has been far from helpful to developers, who have faced supply chain issues and a dearth of foreign buyers. 

“Now we don’t just have Covid, which people have gotten used to, we have war. Inflation. Rising interest rates. And China is all upside down,” luxury real estate agent Donna Olshan told the Journal, noting that the Waldorf did not report any sales to her firm this week. “When you put that cocktail together, that can be daunting for a developer.”

The new units start at $1.8 million for a studio, and residents have separate entrances from the 375 hotel suite guests, as well as separate amenities including the Park Avenue-overlooking Starlight Pool

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