NEW YORK, June 27 (UPI) -- New York's iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel will close in 2017 for a three-year conversion of most of its rooms to condominiums.
About 1,100 of the Art Deco landmark's 1,413 rooms will be renovated to condominiums, with the rest upgraded to luxury standards and used as hotel rooms, a source with knowledge of the plans told The Wall Street Journal.
The conversion will cost up to $1 billion. The Anbang Insurance Group Co., a Chinese firm, purchased the hotel in 2015 for $1.95 billion, the highest price paid for a hotel. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. currently manages the property.
The reduction in hotel rooms will force the elimination of many of the hotel's 1,500 employees. Hilton has reached agreement with hundreds of those workers in a settlement of at least $100 million, the source said.
The hotel was opened in 1931 and sits on a city block of Manhattan's Park Avenue. It gained global attention for its lavish accommodations and celebrity-filled parties, and has factored into numerous novels and films. Every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover has stayed at the hotel.
Conversion of New York City hotels to condominiums is increasing, with developers discovering sales of luxury properties bringing more revenue than the hotel business.