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The Waldorf Astoria is now owned by the Chinese government

People & Companies / Latest News

United States of America / Washington, D.C.

Feb 25 2018

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New York is a city brimming with well-known landmarks. Among them is the historic Waldorf Astoria hotel, which as of this week has a new owner. And it's not the typical real-estate tycoon one would expect. In fact, it's the Chinese government.

In a statement (in Chinese) released on February 23, China's Insurance Regulatory Commission detailed its reasons for taking over the property. What the report stated was that Anbang Insurance Group, a Beijing-based insurance, banking, and financial services firm and the owner of the hotel since 2014 (which recently tapped Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to renovate the landmark), is in danger of insolvency (in other words, the inability to pay its debts). What's more, Anbang chairman Wu Xiaohui is being being prosecuted on suspicion of committing white-collar crimes. China's quick takeover of Anbang's assets means that the government also controls several other high-profile American hotels, including the JW Marriott Essex House in Manhattan and the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington D.C., among others.

The Waldorf Astoria is no stranger to change. A lesser-known fact about the historic hotel is that the original location was in the footprint currently occupied by the Empire State Building. More recently, the hotel announced that a $1 billion renovation would see up to three quarters of its rooms transform into apartments.

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