Following repeated concerns from preservationists that the Waldorf Astoria hotel’s historic character was in danger following Anbang’s takeover of the property, the developer has agreed to work with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for its conversion of the hotel into luxury condos, Bloomberg reports.
While the exterior of the hotel is landmarked, none of the interior is, and preservationists were concerned that many of the iconic Art Deco elements inside would be completely erased during the conversion.
In particular, groups like the Historic Districts Council, the Art Deco Society of New York, and the Landmarks Conservancy expressed concerns that areas inside the hotel like the Peacock Alley, the grand ballroom, and the 18th floor starlight roof would either be damaged or completely destroyed in the conversion. The groups had called on the Landmarks Commission to designate the interiors before construction got underway.
It was previously reported that Anbang was opposed to any interior designation of the building, but a representative for the firm clarified to Bloomberg that this was never the case, and that it was fully willing to cooperate with the Commission.
Preservation groups are going to continue to push for the preservation and a spokesperson for the Landmarks Commission told Bloomberg that the interiors are currently being reviewed by the agency. Regardless Anbang will have to submit plans to the Commission due to the possibility of the construction having an impact on the exterior, and those plans will also need to be approved by the city’s Department of Buildings.
The hotel will officially shut for its conversion on March 1, 2017.