It looks like the King of Zamunda won't have a place to stay for at least three years come next spring: The Wall Street Journal reports that the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel will be shut down for a major overhaul that will convert over three quarters of its 1,413 rooms into highly exclusive condos and upgrade the remaining 300 to 500 rooms into luxury guest rooms.
This development comes after the 2014 purchase of the hotel by the China-based Anbang Insurance Group Corporation. The hotel makeover will cost Anbang over $1 billion, including over $100 million in severance packages for the hotel's 1,500 staff.
While plans for the 2020 reopening remain murky, Anbang chariman Xiaohui Wu has previously made comments that the application process for the condos would be highly exclusive, which is just what Manhattan needs right now.
The Waldorf Astoria opened its Park Avenue location in 1939, and has since hosted every sitting American President, scores of diplomats and celebrities, and was the site of the 1949 World Peace Conference. You may recognize it as the King's hotel from Coming to America and as the spot from the famous Tango scene in Scent of a Woman.