NEW YORK (dpa) – New York City’s iconic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel will be sold to a Chinese insurance company for 1.95 billion dollars, the luxury hotel’s current owner, Hilton Worldwide, said Monday.
The Chinese company, Anbang Insurance Group, will renovate the majestic Art Deco hotel, which opened in 1931 and became an international symbol of elegance, to restore it to its “historic grandeur,” according to a press release.
Under the agreement, Hilton Worldwide will continue to operate the hotel – which the company’s founder Conrad Hilton famously called “the greatest of them all” – for the next 100 years.
“We are very excited to be entering into this long-term relationship with Anbang, which will ensure that the Waldorf Astoria New York represents the brand’s world-class standards for generations to come,” said Christopher J Nassetta, president and chief executive officer of Hilton Worldwide.
With the Waldorf-Astoria’s rich history, the sale might have a far-reaching impact including on international relations. Every single US president since Herbert Hoover has stayed at the hotel, including US President Barack Obama, who lodged there during his visit to New York for the UN General Assembly just two weeks ago.
The White House said plans have not been finalized yet for the president’s stay during next year’s General Assembly, however, the question remains whether the change in ownership will disrupt the long-standing tradition.
The Waldorf Astoria has also been home to successive US ambassadors to the United Nations, including the current ambassador Samantha Power. The State Department said there were no plans to reevaluate the practice for security concerns.
The sale is the latest expansion of growing Chinese influence on Manhattan’s real estate landscape.
In 2013, foreign investors bought a record 5.5 billion dollars worth of commercial space in Manhattan, with Chinese companies accounting for the largest portion of those sales, according to Crain’s New York Business.