Photo taken on Dec. 19, 2019 shows the exterior of Waldorf Astoria in New York, the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Yanan)
The historic luxury hotel Waldorf Astoria in New York is undergoing expensive and extensive renovation to open again in 2022 with 375 condominiums for ownership-based residents and another 375 guest rooms open for business.
NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The historic luxury hotel Waldorf Astoria New York (WANY) is making huge efforts in preserving its landmarks and artifacts while planning to start the sales of condominium residences in February 2020 and put the hotel back to business in early 2022, according to its management team, sales agent and experts.
WANY is undergoing expensive and extensive renovation since early 2017 and plans to open again in early 2022 with 375 condominiums for ownership-based residents and another 375 guest rooms open for business.
WANY's sales plan of condominiums would offer people the opportunity to own a residence at the building for the first time since its completion in 1931.
HUGE EFFORTS IN PRESERVATION
The development team put a lot of resources and efforts into the preservation of landmarks and artifacts associated with the building in cooperation with New-York Historical Society (NYHS) and Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) of New York City.
To this end, hundreds of top architects, designers and professionals were tapped, according to Andrew Miller, who is the U.S. head of the WANY development team with Dajia Insurance Group.
Miller said the development team worked closely with the NYHS and hired its own consultants to work in the archives of the building and investigations in a bid to provide insights into what was original and what was important.
"We established a respectful and collaborative working relationship with the Landmarks Preservation Commission who approved our plan unanimously, (which involves) one of the largest private land markings in New York City history," said Miller.
Miller added that a special conservation architect was also hired to take physical samples of the building and analyze those down to the microscopic level to understand what materials were used, what the finishes were and what the paint colors were.
The restoration plan respects the history while at the same time allowing the hotel to move forward and to embrace the 21st century, said Miller.
The facade and the grand ballroom of WANY were certificated as landmarks of New York City in 1993 and 2017, respectively.
The Kennedy Rocking Chair is displayed at New-York Historical Society (NYHS) with a picture of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy in New York, the United States, Dec. 19, 2019. (Xinhua/Liu Yanan)
Meanwhile, the development team has taken stewardship of the Cole Porter Piano, 1893 World's Fair Clock, Kennedy Rocking Chair, and other artifacts restored or being restored offering the public opportunities to have closer touch to the artifacts.
The 1893 World's Fair Clock undergoes cleaning and renovation in New York, the United States, Oct. 24, 2019. (Xinhua)
The artifacts associated with WANY were part of so many important events in American political and cultural history with Waldorf Astoria looming large in the American imagination, said Margaret Hofer, vice president and museum director of NYHS, on Thursday.
NYHS has displayed the Cole Porter Piano at its exhibition hall and now is having Kennedy Chair exhibited on the ground floor.
"We've been delighted to have that on display in our lobby and we've even had performances on the piano. They have been very well attended. In addition, we are looking forward to the arrival of the Waldorf Astoria lobby clock very soon," said Hofer.
The development team worked with NYHS to exhibit the piano and allow performers to play on it. "Here in the lobby we've had concerts and it allows us to bring it to life and to tell its story more fully," Hofer said.
NYHS also partners with WANY by giving advice on which objects in the latter's collections had really strong historic value and story-telling value and helping the latter to better understand how the collections could be used in museums and made available for researchers, according to Hofer.
The development team is constructing a separate gallery within the hotel that will be available for programs so that curated exhibitions could be presented for the general public when the hotel is reopened, according to Miller.
"We may be working with them to help provide curatorial assistance in coming up with themes and selecting objects," said Hofer.
The Cole Porter Piano is displayed after restoration in a showroom of Waldorf Astoria in New York, the United States, Dec. 19, 2019. (Xinhua/Liu Yanan)
UNIQUE MIX TO DRAW PASSION, INTERESTS
The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, which is condominium component of the development project, would feature various types of layout, separate amenities and intensive services offering flexibility and convenience to the residents.
"We're excited about bringing this icon back to New York City and to the world, and once again establishing it as the greatest hotel in the world," said recently Dan Tubb, a real estate broker with Douglas Elliman, which is the sole sales agent of The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria.
The condos include studios, all the way up to penthouses and terrace residences with one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom condos also available for sale, according to Tubb.
It's a very unique unit mix for this level of luxury in New York City and there're a lot of buyers for that unit type at this level of luxury because that product no longer exists, Tubb said.
"We anticipate that the hunger for and passion for the smaller units will be great and give us a lot of traction in our sales," said Tubb, stressing a lot of pent-up demand in New York City.
"The design of the building was set up to allow residents to have their own amenities, but to have access to everything in the hotel as well," said Miller.
The developer also makes significant upgrading to the aged building while preserving its historical appearance.
"We're doing everything we need to do to bring it back to what it looked like in 1931," said Miller.
When WANY is reopened in 2022, it would have 375 guest rooms with the size of each guest room roughly doubled, Miller said.
"We have very consciously designed the hotel to be the absolute top of the New York City market when we're open" in terms of size and level of luxury, said Miller.
There is a great passion to have this hotel back into business and people can't wait to get back on the clock lobby, according to Tubb.
The building also would have a gas-burning co-generation system providing power and heat and the building is targeting silver-ranking of green building certificate program Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), noted Miller.
The Towers at the hotel have never been sold before, though many of The Towers' suites were occupied by dignitaries on the basis of long-term leases, said Miller. ■