View Full Version : The Plaza Hotel - 768 Fifth Avenue at Central Park South - by Henry J Hardenbergh

May 9th, 2004, 11:09 PM
Pulitzer Fountain (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=257) and the Plaza Hotel (http://www.wirednewyork.com/hotels/plaza_hotel/default.htm) at night.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/hotels/plaza_hotel/plaza_hotel_8may04.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/hotels/plaza_hotel/default.htm)

Lauren Loves NY
May 10th, 2004, 10:00 PM
I cannot WAIT until my trip. The city is amazing at night.

August 13th, 2004, 04:04 PM
August 13, 2004

Plaza Hotel to be sold in $675M deal

Associated Press


The Plaza Hotel is shown August 11, 2004 in New York City. British firm Millennium & Copthorne sold its stake New York's Plaza Hotel in a $675 million deal on August 13, 2004. Millennium & Copthorne was not the full owner but held a 50 percent stake in Plaza Operating Partners which is selling it on to U.S. property firm El Ad Properties NY LLC. The other 50 percent of Plaza Operating Partners is owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

LONDON -- The owners of New York's struggling Plaza Hotel are selling it to a U.S. investment group in a $675 million cash deal.

International hotel group Millennium & Copthorne said Friday that Plaza Operating Partners, in which it has a 50 percent stake, has agreed to sell the prestigious but underperforming hotel to CPS One, an affiliate of U.S. property investment group El Ad Properties. The transaction includes the adjoining property on Fifth Avenue.

The other 50 percent of Plaza Operating Partners is owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, but it was not immediately clear if the $675 million would be split evenly between the two stakeholders.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Millennium & Copthorne said it would use sale proceeds to reduce debt. The group, which operates almost 100 four-star and five-star hotels in 16 countries, said last week that its outlook is improving after a sharp fall in profitability last year linked to the SARS crisis and the Iraq war.

Copyright © 2004 Newsday, Inc.

August 14th, 2004, 12:29 AM
August 14, 2004

Eloise Gets a New Landlord: Plaza Sells for $675 Million


An Israeli developer is buying the Plaza, celebrated in fact and fiction, for a record price per room.

The Plaza Hotel, where F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald pranced in the fountain and Eloise burbled "Oooooooo, I absolutely love the Plaza" as she pranced through the corridors, is being sold to the New York unit of an Israeli developer for $675 million.

The Plaza's new owner (and thus the new landlord of Eloise, the fictional 6-year-old heroine of the children's books by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight) is Elad Properties. While the price is not a record for a hotel in New York, the per-room price - a measure analysts routinely calculate - is, said Sean Hennessey, who follows the New York hotel market for Lodging Investment Advisers, a consulting firm.

Elad is paying $838,509 a room, a sign, Mr. Hennessey said, that the hotel market is rebounding from the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He said that room rates for hotels in New York had risen 9 percent this year, far outpacing inflation.

"The operating fundamentals are improving," he said, "so there have been a lot of investors and sellers who were sitting on the sidelines in the downturn that followed 9/11, waiting for market conditions to firm up enough to put their properties up for sale or jump in and buy them."

Since 1995, the Plaza has been owned by one of the world's wealthiest men, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia, and Millennium & Copthorne, a London-based company that runs hotels in 16 countries. The prince, a nephew of King Fahd, made headlines after the Sept. 11 attacks when he offered to donate $10 million to the City of New York, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the mayor at the time, accepted but then returned the check.

Mr. Giuliani sent the check back after learning that in a news release, the prince had criticized the American government's policies in the Middle East.

The prince and Millennium & Copthorne paid Donald J. Trump $325 million and spent $40 million on renovations. But based on figures from Millennium & Copthorne, the Plaza had a pretax loss of $1.8 million last year.

"It's an icon, but the price is too good to refuse," Kwek Leng Beng, the chairman of Millennium & Copthorne, said at a news conference in Singapore, according to Bloomberg News. "The prince is very happy - he's invited me to Paris, where he wants to give me a big dinner."

Miki Naftali, president and chief executive of Elad Properties, issued a statement through a spokesman, who declined to discuss Elad's plans for the Plaza. A real estate executive who had been briefed on the deal said Elad was considering turning some of the Plaza's 805 rooms into condominiums.

Mr. Trump talked about the same idea when he controlled the Plaza in the early 1990's. He said at the time that condominiums would not turn the turreted French Renaissance landmark into the Manhattan version of a time-share in the Catskills, though some architectural historians called the plan heresy.

"The flavor of the project is similar to what Trump had in mind," the executive who had been briefed on the deal said. "It's going to be a high-end condominium with hotel services."

Elad has built condominiums in a couple of other buildings it has renovated in New York recently: one a former United Federation of Teachers office building on East 21st Street near Gramercy Park, another the old Mercantile Library building at Astor Place and Broadway.

For his part, Mr. Kwek said the Plaza still needed work.

"The hotel needs renovation, and I don't want to spend any more money on it," Mr. Kwek was quoted as saying. He said that in its best year, 2000, the Plaza had a profit of $45 million.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 14th, 2004, 11:41 AM
I'm shocked to hear that the Plaza isn't doing well. I thought I heard that hotel occupancy rates were back up very close with pre-9/11 levels. It's strange that one of NYC's most popular hotels isn't making a similar come-back.

August 15th, 2004, 02:55 AM
I'm shocked to hear that the Plaza isn't doing well. I thought I heard that hotel occupancy rates were back up very close with pre-9/11 levels. It's strange that one of NYC's most popular hotels isn't making a similar come-back.

I posted an article here: http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=2963&start=60

This says that the hotel has 805 rooms and can't charge the same premiums as other luxury properties with only 200 - 400 rooms.

Part will be converted to insanely priced condos to 1) Raise cash and 20 Decrease the rooms and allow for rate raises.

Maybe this would do the trick.

January 17th, 2005, 12:47 PM

January 17, 2005 -- Better call the Waldorf, Eloise! — The Plaza will be shut down this May for extensive renovations, a new report says.

"Inquiries about booking special events at the hotel after April are answered with a cautionary warning," according to Crain's New York Business.

"The catering department is advising people not to plan parties at The Plaza for May and beyond."

Early next month, the famous hotel will shutter its historic Oak Room and Oyster Bar restaurants.

As The Post has reported, Elad Properties, which now owns the hotel, plans to turn The Plaza's top floors into condos. But it's expected that some hotel rooms will still be available.

It's not clear when the hotel will reopen.

Bill Hoffmann

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc

January 18th, 2005, 10:36 AM
(The Plaza)


January 18, 2005

The suspense continues to mount over what's going to happen at the Plaza Hotel. Israeli-owned Elad Properties bought the landmarked Plaza last summer for $675 million and remains disappointingly mum, despite a hemmorhage of rumors.

Crain's reported the hotel closing in May. Hotel employees told The Post that 600 of 800 rooms will be converted to condos. The Times reported the grand ballroom might be doomed.

Although the prospect of the Plaza being boarded up for two years isn't pretty, Elad is entitled to do what it wants with the interior. But unlike smaller properties that Elad has handled sensitively, the Plaza is not merely a legal landmark, but an emotional landmark at a fabled location.

New Yorkers have a right to know what's up. The goodwill Elad CEO Miki Naftali has earned may be squandered unless the company stops behaving as if it's nobody's business.

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

January 18th, 2005, 07:41 PM



What a nice hotel !!!

Jack Ryan
January 18th, 2005, 10:01 PM
Oddly enough, The Plaza was Frank Lloyd Wright's home away from home. He did alot of moaning and groaning about how awful a place New York had become but LOVED The Plaza.

TLOZ Link5
January 18th, 2005, 10:29 PM
The Plaza's plaza must have been grand back in the day. How weird that I regret the demolition of Penn Station and the Savoy-Plaza Hotel when I wasn't even alive to see them intact.

It would be pretty interesting if some developer got the idea to replace the GM Building with a mixed-use supertall, with a 450-foot base that echoes the massing of the old S-P and a shaft that steps back respectfully from the streetwall.

That's my flight of fancy for the day.

January 19th, 2005, 09:18 AM




January 25th, 2005, 01:07 PM

January 23, 2005

The Plaza hotel is looking for high-end boutiques like Versace and specialty food shops like Zabar's — as well as a hotel management company — as it transforms itself into a condo/retail center.

A source close to the historic hotel's operators say The Plaza has approached specialty food shops about moving into the space previously occupied by the Oak Room restaurant. The owners also want a designer shop for the ground floor.

"It's too small for a big department store and it's a landmarked building, so big windows can't be created on the façade," the source said. "It must be a destination store . . . we may even see a spa or entertainment."

Once home to Vanderbilts and Hitchcocks, the 98-year-old hotel will shut its doors for 18 to 24 months on April 30, after which the building will be remodeled into condominiums and retail space. Only about 80 of The Plaza's 805 rooms will remain as a hotel.

The makeover is the brainchild of reclusive Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva, who bought the Plaza for $675 million last year. The hotel has lost money since the World Trade Center attacks, but Tshuva is willing to sit on his investment — since a one-bedroom condo in the building could fetch as much as $3 million.

There's no shortage of interest. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Tshuva had spoken to celebrities like John Travolta about buying a unit.

"The Plaza will fly big time for those wanting pied-a-terres and apartments in the best location," says William Costigan, a high-end broker who just sold a $12 million apartment on Central Park. "The Europeans are able to buy here for less. You are buying a piece of New York history. There a several rooms in there that are gems."

Hotel companies — Starwood, Marriott, CNL Hospitality Properties and Interstate among them — are less enthusiastic.

Although they would provide service to the whole building, including condos, they want at least some high-end rooms that face Central Park.

A source says Tshuva and his company want most of those spaces for permanent tenants.

Tshuva wants a deal soon, and hopes to get construction rolling as soon as the last suitcase is out the door.

"He is looking to do this fast and is under pressure to go to market as quickly as possible, because although the market is good for luxury condos now, there's no telling how long that will last," said Peter Slatin, of the real-estate newsletter the Slatin Report.

"He wants to beat others and is on track to beat the developers of the Mayflower Hotel on Central Park West."

Tshuva, a scruffy Israeli refugee turned real-estate mogul, is expanding his holdings in the United States. He bought the 32-story BellSouth building in Jacksonville, Fla., for $91 million, The Gift Building at 225 Fifth Ave. for $125 million and converted 21 Astor Place to condominiums.

But Tshuva is facing resistance from those who want the storied hotel to remain unchanged. In answer to these critics, his company's CEO, the savvy Miki Naftali, has mounted a publicity campaign to convince residents that remaking The Plaza's interior — while retaining its French Renaissance exterior — is the best way to save it.

Tshuva actually has history on his side. When The Plaza opened in 1907, it was used primarily as a residence for wealthy New Yorkers such as Alfred Vanderbilt. The famous flocked to its doors. Alfred Hitchcock shot parts of "North by Northwest" there, and it was the site of the Catherine Zeta-Jones/Michael Douglas wedding reception.

Ernest Hemingway once counseled F. Scott Fitzgerald that he should leave his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza. Just don't forget your luggage — after April 30, you probably won't get it back.

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

TLOZ Link5
January 25th, 2005, 01:12 PM
Only 80 hotel rooms? What a shame.

January 25th, 2005, 03:50 PM
Imagine the rates on those 80 rooms. They were steep with 10 times that!

January 26th, 2005, 10:42 AM
January 26, 2005

Condos and Stores Planned for Plaza


The Plaza Hotel, which will close for changes by April 30, was bought by an Israeli developer for $675 million last fall.

The Plaza Hotel, where F. Scott Fitzgerald drank and Alfred Hitchcock directed and Truman Capote held sway and Eloise romped, will close by April 30 to be divided into three parts - condominiums, stores and a much smaller hotel.

Confirming rumors that had swirled in real estate circles for months, the real estate developer who bought the Plaza last fall said yesterday that the 805-room hotel would be turned into a multipurpose building.

The developer, Miki Naftali, president and chief executive of Elad Properties, said he was planning 200 one- to four-bedroom condos, mainly on the Plaza's upper floors, facing Fifth Avenue and Central Park South. He said that a hotel with 150 rooms, just under a fifth the number the Plaza has now, would occupy much of the 58th Street side of the building.

The ornate Grand Ballroom and the multilevel Terrace Room - where countless cocktail parties and galas and wedding receptions have been held over the years - would be turned into space for stores. Two subbasement levels will also be renovated for retailers, he said.

But some of the Plaza's most visible and venerable public spaces will reopen after being given nothing more than what he called cosmetic touchups: the Palm Court, the airy centerpiece of the lobby; the restaurant at the building's northeast corner that was long known as the Edwardian Room (and closed after being renamed One CPS); and the Oak Room and the Oak Bar, with their dark-paneled walls. But the restaurants will be operated separately from the hotel and are likely to be turned over to outside restaurateurs.

Mr. Naftali's company, which is owned by Yitzhak Tshuva, an Israeli developer, paid $675 million for the Plaza. Mr. Naftali said the renovation would cost at least $100 million.

The Plaza's fortresslike exterior was designated a city landmark in 1969. Its interior has never been given landmark status.

"It's not that we feel we're restricted" because it has landmark status, Mr. Naftali said, "we can't think of changing it. I don't need to put huge signage on the building to call people to come in."

Officials of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission said that any interior designation would have covered only the public spaces - not the individual rooms, which Mr. Naftali and his architects want to combine to make larger apartments in the condominium.

The developer's team also envisions relocating bathrooms and installing kitchens, although he said that one reason to live there would be to order takeout meals from the restaurants in the lobby.

"Our plan is to keep the integrity of the spaces," Mr. Naftali said. "The challenge is to refresh the space."

He said that the Plaza, which opened in 1907, was "worn down" and needed to be brought up to modern standards. "It's amazing people think it's one of the best hotels in the world," he said. "It's not. But look at the space."

Mr. Naftali said the renovations would begin as soon as the Plaza closes and the employees are laid off. He said the hotel had already given 60 days' notice to 176 workers in the Oak Room, the Oyster Bar and adjacent kitchen areas.

The hotel's 800 or so other employees will receive formal notification, as required by the Plaza's contract with the hotel workers union, by the end of February. But Mr. Naftali said managers had already begun telling those workers that the hotel would shut down in the spring.

Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, said he had met with Mr. Naftali and was concerned about the loss of so many jobs. "We're working toward resolution of an exit agreement," Mr. Ward said.

As Mr. Naftali sees it, the Plaza's registration area, on the Central Park South side of the first floor, will serve as the entrance to the condos. The new hotel will be reached from the Rose Room, a high-ceilinged space that once housed a nightclub off the hotel's Fifth Avenue lobby.

"When you walk through the Plaza and you see so many gorgeous rooms," Mr. Naftali said, "we thought, 'how could we convert those spaces to residential?' We are keeping the integrity of those famous rooms."

Robert B. Tierney, chairman of the Landmarks Commission, said that part of Mr. Naftali's plan for the building "raises enough questions that we'd have to take a look at it."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

January 26th, 2005, 11:15 AM



January 26, 2005 -- The landmarked Plaza hotel, fabled in New York song and story, will be reborn as a glamorous condo-hotel destination boasting a five-level department store and luxurious new restaurants, its new owner said yesterday.

Elad Properties chief Miki Naftali said the 800-room Plaza will close on April 30 for 16 to 18 months. It will reopen in late 2006 with 200 luxury condos on upper floors and with a 150-room hotel on the 58th Street side.

For all its fame as the setting for movies like "Plaza Suite" and as home to bratty literary mascot Eloise, The Plaza lost money under its previous owners.

The conversion of many rooms into condos was widely expected in a booming apartment-sale market.

But the announcement shot down a batch of false rumors that were rampant since Elad, a unit of Yitzhak Tshuva's Israeli-owned El-ad Group, bought the hotel last summer for $675 million.

Despite preservationists' fears, several beloved interior spaces — the Grand Ballroom, Palm Court and Oak Room — will be kept largely as they are, Naftali says, even though none enjoys landmark-law protection as The Plaza exterior does.

The Oak Room will be reopened as a restaurant. The Palm Court, "like a piazza in Italy," will lead visitors at the main Fifth Avenue entrance to what might be the project's most unusual feature: a five- or six-story department store to be constructed entirely within the existing building.

The fabled Grand Ballroom — site of Truman Capote's legendary "Black and White" ball — will be kept "structurally as it is" and be part of the store, "similar to Harrods in London," rich in impressive architectural spaces.

Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, a preservation-advocacy group, said, "We appreciate that the new owners intend to treat the historic interiors with respect. We look forward to seeing the plans to see if they're successful in doing this."

To fill the 150,000- square-foot store, Naftali says he's talking to a "very high-end retail operator, even more exclusive than Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue or Harrods."

The hotel will be on The Plaza's 58th Street side — so no rooms will have park views. The Rose Room at the southeast corner — once a nightclub but used in recent decades for meetings — will become the hotel lounge. The northeast corner, where the One C.P.S. restaurant has closed, will be a new restaurant — not a store as was widely reported.

Naftali is aware that some New Yorkers will be upset by the temporary closing, but he says the plan will open The Plaza up to the public as never before.

"The reality of the ballroom, for example, is that if you're not invited to a wedding there, you may never use it," he said.

"Now, most of these gorgeous rooms will be open to the public. They should be an amenity for the city."

Unlike at some other high-end condo projects, the new Plaza apartments will not be gigantic. The largest will be around 3,500 square feet, Naftali said, "although if a customer asked for 8,000 feet, we could accommodate them."

A typical Plaza hotel room pre-closing is about 500 square feet.

Dottie Herman, CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said, "I once stayed there two or three days a week for a year. And every time, I thought, 'My God — why don't they have condos here?'

"Today, people are really buying a lifestyle, and owning one at The Plaza will be like living in a hotel, but you own it."

She predicted units will sell for $2,500-$3,000 a square foot, comparing favorably with most condos at super-luxury projects like the Time Warner Center and One Beacon Court.

January 26th, 2005, 11:16 AM
So a dept. store in the Plaza...pretty slick. It will be like Harrod's, it seems, but more high end than Bergdorf...HUH???

Also, I like the 150 room total. Much better than the 80. This plan, overall, sounds like a great renovation for the Plaza. It will make it more of a gem than before.

January 26th, 2005, 01:54 PM
I hope something like Saks comes in. I love designer clothes!

January 26th, 2005, 02:01 PM
The only department stores more exclusive than Bergdorf Goodman would be Henri Bendel or Barneys, no?

January 26th, 2005, 03:10 PM
The only department stores more exclusive than Bergdorf Goodman would be Henri Bendel or Barneys, no?

I think it might be something from outside the US. I think Bergdorf would be much more exclusive than Barney's BG is sick. It's more exclusive than Saks, too.

January 26th, 2005, 03:51 PM
Ive never been in either BG or Barneys. Although I frequent Bloomies and Saks when Im in town.

January 28th, 2005, 08:03 PM
If they destroy the gatsbyesque feeling of the plaza I will kill these people.

February 8th, 2005, 09:42 PM
Preservationists Worry About Plaza Hotel Interiors

February 8, 2005


New York City’s Plaza Hotel has been one of the world’s most famous for nearly a century. But this coming April, for the first time in its history, the hotel is due to close. The Plaza’s new owner, Elad Properties, is planning to build a luxury department store inside the structure and convert most of the hotel rooms to luxury condominiums. The impending renovation has raised concern in New York City’s preservation community about the fate of the Plaza’s historic interior public spaces.

While the exterior of the Plaza was one of the city’s first landmarks to be designated, the hotel’s interior public spaces do not have landmark status. The preservationists are particularly worried about the Oak Room restaurant and the hotel’s ballroom.

The German Renaissance style Oak Room is virtually unchanged since it was built in 1907. It retains its original ornately carved wood walls, elaborate chandeliers, and murals of the Bavarian countryside. And the Beaux-Arts style ballroom built in 1921 is one of New York City’s four remaining grand hotel ballrooms.

A New York-based team comprised of Gal Nauer Architects and Costas Kondylis and Partners is finalizing plans for the renovation. No structural changes will be made to the Plaza’s historic interiors says Steve Solomon, an Elad Properties spokesperson. But Solomon maintains that the hotel needs fixing up. “ A lot of the stuff, even the woodwork is worn out and some of the doors are in bad shape,” he says, adding, “They {the owners} are going to respect the architectural integrity of the spaces, but where enhancement or upgrading is needed they are going to do it.”

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has not yet decided whether the Oak Room and the ballroom merit landmark status. But the Commission’s chairman Robert Tierney says that the interiors in question are noteworthy and that his agency is looking into the matter. In addition, Tierney maintains that because the Commission already regulates the Plaza’s exterior, it should be able to influence the owner to preserve the Oak Room and the ballroom even though those areas do not have landmark status. “They {the owners} are already under our jurisdiction, ”he says, “so when we call them in because we are interested in other parts of the building, it gets attention.”

Some preservationists say that it makes business sense for Elad Properties to preserve the Plaza’s historic interiors. “Preserving those spaces will enhance their {the developer’s} bottom line and serious alterations would be a public relations disaster,” says Peg Breen, president of the Landmarks Conservancy, a New York City based preservation group.

But others say that the Oak Room and the ballroom are in jeopardy because they do not have protection under the city’s landmarks laws. “This owner may choose to respect the architectural integrity of the interiors but who knows what is going to happen two years from now, “ says Anthony Dolkart, professor of Architectural History at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Preservation and Planning, adding “Even if they respect the interiors now, next year they could decide to rip them out and they have the legal right to do so because these spaces have not been designated as landmarks.”

By Alex Ulam


February 12th, 2005, 10:11 PM

Harrods May Check in at Plaza

BY JULIE SATOW - Staff Reporter of the Sun
February 11, 2005

Front-runners for the retail space that the owners of the Plaza hotel plan to create include two British department stores, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and an American spa chain, Canyon Ranch, according to retail brokers who are working on the deals.

The negotiations with the luxury tenants are progressing even as workers at the Plaza try to scuttle plans by developer Elad Properties to convert the landmark hotel into condominiums and retail space. The employees plan to rally on Thursday to protest the closure, and they expect a turnout of several thousand - including some elected officials - a union spokesman, John Turchiano, said. Elected officials who have so far agreed to attend include Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and the City Council member who represents the district, Eva Moskowitz.

The 800-room hotel is scheduled to shut April 30 for 16 to 18 months to be transformed into 200 luxury condominiums, a 150-room hotel, and 150,000 square feet of retail space. As a result of the closing, 900 union hotel workers will lose their jobs, as will 200 non-union employees in managerial positions at the hotel.

Meanwhile, a source in the real estate industry told The New York Sun yesterday that the two leading auction houses, Sotheby's and Christie's, are in negotiations with Elad Properties to auction off the contents of the hotel after its doors close. The auction would take place sometime in the spring, the source said.

The auction could bring intense interest, with objects ranging from furniture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to the bed from the Vanderbilt Suite where numerous heads of state slept, to objects immortalized by movies such as Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic "North by Northwest."

Next week's rally is part of a $1 million effort by the hotel workers' union, which includes an advertising campaign and a "Save the Plaza" committee.

Talks between the Plaza employees and Elad Properties stalled this week after workers turned down the developer's offer to double their severance package if they would sign waivers stating they would have no right to return to work at the Plaza, according to sources involved in the negotiations. The severance package in the union contract gives the workers, many of whom had held out hope of returning to work at the Plaza after renovations, four days' pay for every year of employment, plus six months of extended medical coverage.

"The Plaza is the flagship hotel of New York, and anyone can walk in and eat in the restaurants, or get a room in the hotel overlooking Central Park," Mr. Turchiano said. "What they are doing is like selling a piece of Central Park."

The union, the New York Hotel Trades Council, will take "every step possible to preserve the Plaza as a hotel for all the people of New York," he said.

A spokesman for Elad Properties, Steve Solomon, said: "The owners have put in $775 million to redevelop and revitalize the Plaza, which their own union officials have called a three-star hotel at best. The owners offered a generous severance package that more than satisfies their legal and contractual obligations."

While elected officials have largely remained quiet on the topic, Community Board 5 passed a resolution last night calling for the Plaza to remain a hotel and for the interior of the building to be given landmark designation. The exterior of the building is land marked and cannot be changed, but the interior is not protected.

The union negotiations with the Plaza could collide with a visit by the site-evaluation commission of the International Olympic Committee, which is set to arrive on February 20 and stay at the Plaza during its four days in the city. The hotel workers union supports the effort to bring the Olympics to New York in 2012, and the spokesman said its difficulties with the Plaza will not affect the IOC visit.

"We fully support the NYC2012 effort and our members are delighted that the Olympic Committee is coming to New York," Mr. Turchiano said. "We will do nothing to interfere with the Olympic committee, except to make sure the IOC has the best time while they are here in NYC and hopefully choose our city for the 2012 games."

While Elad Properties is continuing to run the Plaza as a hotel until its closure at the end of April, its main focus is on the renovation plans. In addition to building and selling condominiums, which are to be sold exclusively through the Stribling brokerage, the developer is looking to sell, rather than lease, the 150,000 square feet of retail space, brokers familiar with the plans said.

The decision to sell the retail space, either to a retail investor or directly to a retailer, is not uncommon, real estate insiders said.

"Sometimes developers want to liquefy the investment, sell the whole thing off, and put all the money into the next deal," one retail broker, who asked not to be quoted by name, said.

"The benefit of selling the retail upfront is that the money is taken off the table," another retail broker, Adelaide Polsinelli of Besen & Associates, said.

Ms. Polsinelli estimated that the retail space at the Plaza, which she calls the "Tiffany of all buildings," could be sold for up to $2,000 a square foot, for a total of $300 million.

As for the likely contenders, brokers said it is more likely that if Harrods were to take retail space at the Plaza it would be for a food hall, similar to the gourmet food mart in the basement level of its flagship London store. With both prepared and fresh food, a similar store would be the right size for the relatively small retail space available at the Plaza.

Harrods has publicly denied having any interest in opening an American outpost. Harvey Nichols could not be reached for comment.

A Canyon Ranch spokeswoman, Katie Garber, confirmed that its development team is looking at the Plaza, among other sites.

"Canyon Ranch is interested in building its brand with additional properties, and our development team is exploring all the major urban markets, including the Plaza in New York," Ms. Garber said.

The most likely option for a Canyon Ranch at the Plaza would be its Spa-Club, or day spa, similar to ones it has opened recently in Las Vegas and on the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship, Ms. Garber said, adding that the company is not close to signing any deal.

February 13th, 2005, 01:19 PM
I jsut dont know, Harrods would be great but come on, the Plaza is an American icon. I love the Britts but you wouldnt put a nike store in the Arc de Triumph.

February 16th, 2005, 11:36 PM
February 17, 2005

Mayor Intervenes in Plans for Condo Conversion of the Plaza


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/m.gifayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday indicated his support for the hotel-worker union's campaign against a condominium-conversion plan for the Plaza Hotel and invited the developer and union officials to Gracie Mansion to talk, his spokesman said.

The mayor met with the president of the union, Peter Ward, in the afternoon. Later, Mr. Bloomberg's spokesman, Edward Skyler, said both sides had agreed to get together at Gracie Mansion last night.

"The Plaza is an icon, and the mayor would like to see it remain an icon that welcomes visitors from all over the world," Mr. Skyler said. "Peter Ward knows the mayor's committed to the hotel industry, not just keeping hotel jobs in the city but creating more."

The union has stepped up its campaign against the condominium plan, accusing the developer of violating its contract by not providing details of the plans. Mr. Ward said he was considering seeking an injunction to force the developer, Elad Properties, to hand over such materials.

The union, which has formed a "Save the Plaza" committee and set aside $1 million to fight the closing, is also planning a noontime rally today outside the hotel's Fifth Avenue entrance, between 58th Street and Central Park South.

Mr. Skyler said that the mayor "would like to go to the rally" but that a scheduling conflict might prevent it.

Elad bought the Plaza last fall for $675 million. It wants to turn the imposing hotel into a multipurpose building with stores and a far smaller hotel as well as the condominiums.

A spokesman for Elad, Steve Solomon, said he was unaware of any meeting with Mr. Bloomberg.

As for Mr. Skyler's comment about the Plaza's status as an icon and the mayor's hope that it can continue to house travelers, Mr. Solomon said, "I hope the mayor understands what the Plaza plan is, because the Elad plan is to make it an icon property for the 21st century."

The union has begun mobilizing its members and seeking support among lawmakers, architecture historians and celebrities. The union said the actress Kate Capshaw and the columnist Liz Smith had agreed to let their names be used by the "Save the Plaza" committee. Betsy Gotbaum, the city's public advocate, is among the public officials who support the committee.

The union has also taken the first step toward having parts of the Plaza's interior designated as a landmark by filing papers with the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission. The exterior was designated a landmark in the 1960's, but the interior never was. Commission officials say they have met with officials from Elad, which says it plans no structural changes in what it calls the Plaza's "most cherished interior spaces," including the Palm Court, Grand Ballroom and Oak Room.

Mr. Ward also suggested trying "tax breaks to keep the jobs" in place. About 900 workers would be laid off if the hotel closes, he said. "We think the continued closure of hotels eliminates the best jobs in the city for blue-collar people," Mr. Ward said, "and the city can't afford that."

Elad said last month that the employees would receive formal notification, as required by contract, by the end of February.

Mr. Ward also dismissed Elad's plan for a small hotel, mainly on the 58th Street side of the building, saying it would "create the minimum amount of jobs where the maximum amount now exists." Elad, which says the Plaza has been declining for years, describes the hotel component of the new Plaza as "the finest 150-room five-star hotel on the planet."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

February 17th, 2005, 05:03 PM
Good job mayor.

February 18th, 2005, 12:06 AM
Good job mayor.

I don't think so. Maybe the city should provide incentives for hoteliers to open or expand in the city. The developer paid $675 million with certain plans in mind. Plus, it's not like the hotel is closing or that the historic interiors will be altered (supposedly). The plan is pretty good and responsible, I think.

February 26th, 2005, 09:28 AM
February 26, 2005

Union Asks Plaza's Owner to Reduce Condo Portion


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/t.gifhe hotel workers' union has suggested converting less of the Plaza Hotel into condominiums than its owner has in mind.

The union president, Peter Ward, said he made the suggestion on Thursday at a meeting at City Hall with representatives of the owner, Elad Properties. It was the second meeting of the two sides since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg intervened last week.

Elad bought the Plaza, the storied but lately somewhat worn home of the fictional character Eloise and one-time stomping ground of F. Scott Fitzgerald, for $675 million last fall. Its president and chief executive, Miki Naftali, said last month that he was planning 200 one- to four-bedroom condos.

He also said that a hotel with 150 rooms - far fewer than the 800 or so that the Plaza has now - would occupy much of the 58th Street side of the castlelike building on Fifth Avenue. The third element of Elad's plan is retail space encompassing the ornate Grand Ballroom, the Terrace Room behind the Palm Court and two subbasement levels.

Mr. Ward said he had suggested that the Plaza "remain substantially a hotel" by putting condominiums in only 25 percent of the 18-story building, on the top floors. The rest of the Plaza would continue to have guest rooms. He has mentioned pressing the city for tax breaks for Elad and other possible moves to help Elad financially.

His union represents the Plaza's 900 workers, who stand to lose their jobs. Before the union formed a "Save the Plaza" committee and began mobilizing members and celebrities to fight the condominium conversion, Elad was negotiating a severance package with the union and planning to close the hotel by May 1.

A spokesman for Elad would not discuss details of the City Hall session. "I don't think it's in anybody's interest to talk openly about it," he said. "Until something really is agreed upon, it's silly to talk about these things."

People who have seen Elad's architectural drawings said they call for putting escalators in space now occupied by balconies in the Grand Ballroom and in the Baroque Room next door.

Elad has repeatedly said it plans no structural changes in the hotel. But the people who have seen the drawings said the escalators would appear to require Elad to break through the floor.

The drawings also call for putting escalators in the Terrace Room, these people said, and for walling off the balconies in the Grand Ballroom.

That would appear to be a departure from the plan Mr. Naftali outlined on a walk through the Plaza last month. "The ballroom, we are going to leave it as is," he said then. "We are not changing the integrity of the space; we are not changing the design of the space."

Yesterday, the spokesman for Elad, Steve Solomon, said the plans for retail space "are still in early stages" and "will not be finalized until a specific user is identified."

He added, "There is no user right now."

He said Elad did not intend to "change the terms" of its plan for "keeping the integrity of the space."

The Plaza's fortresslike exterior was designated a city landmark in 1969. Its interior has never been given landmark status.

But Elad officials have met with officials of the city's Landmarks Commission, and the union has filed papers to designate the interior as a landmark. Robert B. Tierney, the commission's chairman, said Thursday that the commission's staff was continuing its review of the matter.

Mr. Solomon, the Elad spokesman, said Elad officials had never told him of plans to install escalators or elevators in the retail space.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

March 5th, 2005, 06:41 AM
March 5, 2005

The Plaza Says It'll Be History After April 30

By JAMES BARRON (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=JAMES%20BARRON&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=JAMES%20BARRON&inline=nyt-per)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/t.gifhe Plaza Hotel, where the fictional character Eloise romped through the corridors inside and the fiction writer F. Scott Fitzgerald romped in the fountain outside, sent the union representing its workers a letter this week making official the timetable for the hotel's closing. No one will romp at the Plaza after April 30.

The real estate company that owns the Plaza says it will become a construction site on its way to becoming condominiums and stores with a far smaller hotel on the 58th Street side.

The hotel has called all guests who had reservations for later than April 30 to let them know they cannot stay there, said Miki Naftali, the president and chief executive of Elad Properties, the Plaza's owner.

The letter to the union, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, which has organized a "Save the Plaza" campaign, said that 864 workers would lose their jobs "on or about April 30."

The union wants the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the interior of the Plaza a landmark. The exterior has had such a designation for more than 30 years.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

March 6th, 2005, 09:38 AM

March 6th, 2005, 01:37 PM
If you are against the changes to the Plaza you can email the Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Robert Tierney at rtierney@lpc.nyc.gov. My thoughts as they will be expressed to him:

It is unbelievable to me that you are allowing the Plaza Hotel to be decimated.

Excuse the hackneyed phrase, but what part of "Landmarks Preservation Commission" don't you understand? The Plaza is not just a building that, as long as it looks the same from the outside, can be considered preserved. It is a hub, a destination point, an all-roads-lead-to kind of place. Verily, in a way it is the heart of New York City. That it is a HOTEL is integral to its form as well as its function. For it is a public space. Anyone can walk in there, at any time. It is understood as a LANDMARK by its proprietors (or was), a place that people will simply come to see and walk through, to be in, with no other purpose.

Can you imagine what that very central location in New York will be like when the Plaza is no longer a hotel? A big, grand, sprawling, gorgeous, thriving hotel? The character of Central Park South will be altered, diluted, castrated even. The same of Fifth Avenue, the same of Fifty-ninth Street. Of Central Park! Of Grand Army Plaza. The keystone of it all, the Plaza Hotel, will be an exclusive condo with elite shops and a few overpriced hotel rooms with no view. A gated community, it will be like. So this majestic focal point designed to attract people, to draw them in, to bring them together, day and night, will become a shut-off place discouraging to visitors. As if the super-rich with no souls who will purchase these condos, will want or even allow the public's presence encouraged on or near their premises. I'm sorry, but you have got to be out of your mind to let this happen. Or in someone's pocket, I hate to say.

Have you ever even been to the Plaza? Walking in there is like taking a trip back in time, it is a time capsule of Old New York. As I write this I am just in such shock that you would allow this to happen, as I understand that you could stop it if you so desired, or at least put up roadblocks. Jeez, even Trump owned it and didn't mess around with it! And nothing is sacred to him! And yet, somehow the Plaza as a hotel survived even his greedy hands.

By allowing the essence of the Plaza Hotel to be destroyed you are cutting out the heart of New York City. You are killing my hometown. In a way, I guess it is inevitable, as I'm one of those who kind of believes we are witnessing the decline of Western Civilization, today. And if the Plaza Hotel in New York City cannot be deemed worthy of continuing to function as one of the most beautiful and historic hotels in the world -- well, that's proof enough right there.

And believe me, years from now, no one will remember who the developers were who did this -- they are faceless greedy bastards who will surely rue this ill-conceived destruction. It is you, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and you personally, Mr. Tierney, who will be held responsible in the eyes of history. Pennsylvania Station redux, hmm? You're quite brave, I suppose, in a way, to ensure such a destiny for yourself.

If you don't protect the Plaza I don't see why you bother to protect anything. How ironic that people are actually afraid of landmark status these days as they think they won't be able to do anything with their property. I guess the Plaza will be a giant billboard for the silliness of that fear.

March 11th, 2005, 08:12 AM


When Eloise Met Norma Rae

Why does hotel-union leader Peter Ward think he can tell the Plaza’s owners they can’t turn it into luxury condos, anyway?

By Greg Sargent (http://newyorkmetro.com/nymag/author_sargent)

Peter Ward got married at the Plaza (http://www.newyorkmetro.com/pages/hotels/427.htm) 22 years ago, but by fighting to keep Elad Properties from converting it to condos, he’s not just trying to hold on to the memories of his wedding night. As president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, he’s trying to hold on to jobs (and union membership, which is currently 26,000). With an ad campaign that mixes nostalgia with economics, he’s attempting to turn the city against the white-hot real-estate trend of creating high-end housing out of hotels. Ward spoke to Greg Sargent about his “Save the Plaza” plan.

The hotel-to-condo conversion fad isn’t new. Why make a stand now?
Initially, we thought we should just cut the best deal possible for Plaza workers and asked Elad for double severance. They finally said no. They stand to make a $900 million profit, but they couldn’t spare $10 million for people who’d worked there for 30, 40, even 50 years. After our campaign started, they said, “We’re prepared to give you double severance right now.” We said the offer was unacceptable.

We’re shining a spotlight on the overall problem through the lens of the Plaza. Condo conversion destroys what are some of the best blue-collar jobs in the city. In twenty months, we’ve lost 1,000 union jobs to conversion. Unless we meet this head-on, it could be irreversible.

You’re seeking legislation to block conversion. Is there a legal precedent here?
Eminent domain is a good example. The state and city condemn real estate all the time and tell owners, “Tough shit,” because they think it’s in the public interest. And there are historic theaters whose owners have been told they may not alter them.

What’s next?
On April 5, we’re having a meeting with 6,000 of our members at Radio City. Then we’ll all march to the Plaza.

Is a deal possible?
We’re asking Elad to build luxury condos in the top 25 percent of the building. We have two hotel companies that are willing to come to the table to buy the bottom 75 percent.

Who are they?
I’m not at liberty to say.

Why has Bloomberg jumped onboard?
The mayor’s saying to developers, Don’t gut the hotel industry for a quick profit; build in places we’ve rezoned: western Queens, the Brooklyn waterfront.

Apart from your wedding, what makes the Plaza so special?
Imagine telling someone from London that you were gonna replace the Savoy with a shopping mall.

TLOZ Link5
March 11th, 2005, 10:30 PM
Peter Ward has a point. He's willing to make a concession with the top quarter of the building being converted to condos, a la the Waldorf=Astoria. I'm on the side of Save the Plaza with this one.

March 13th, 2005, 01:11 AM
Peter Ward has a point. He's willing to make a concession with the top quarter of the building being converted to condos, a la the Waldorf=Astoria. I'm on the side of Save the Plaza with this one.

How in the world is that a concession? This developer bought a building and wants to make condos. That's the end. They should be happy he's keeping 150 rooms. He'd make more money going all condo and retail. They should also be happy he wants to perserve the interiors, which he does not have to.

When is enough gonna be enough with these unions?

March 23rd, 2005, 02:01 PM
NY Daily News

Suite deal may save Plaza jobs


Don't pack your bags just yet, Eloise.
The City Council is expected to introduce a bill today that would bar any hotel - including The Plaza, home to the fictional Eloise - from converting more than 20% of its space to condos.

That could scuttle controversial plans by Plaza owners Elad Properties to cut the number of rooms at the fabled hotel by 80%, from 805 to 150, and convert the remainder of the landmark to condos and shops.

"The Plaza is synonymous with the City of New York, and it's something we have to fight to preserve," said City Councilwoman Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), a sponsor of the bill. "But it has also spotlighted a much larger problem facing our city's hotel industry."

The bill comes as more than a dozen hotels in the city have converted some or all of their rooms into high-price condos - eliminating more than 1,000 union-backed hotel jobs.

At the same time, while a number of new hotels are in the pipeline, the tourism is booming.

That has some worried that the city's critical tourism industry could soon be hamstrung by a lack of hotel rooms.

The Council's bill would grant hotel owners a one-time right to convert 20% of their space to condos or other residential uses. After that, developers would have to prove to the city they are "unable to earn a reasonable financial return" as a hotel.

The proposal was blasted yesterday by Elad Properties as a gift to the city's hotel union and an attempt to meddle with private-sector forces in "probably unconstitutional" ways.

"It will not only hurt The Plaza hotel's renovation plans," said Elad President Miki Naftali, "but will also harm New York's booming real estate industry."

Aides to Mayor Bloomberg, who has been trying to broker a deal between Elad and the city's hotel union, declined to comment on the bill.

But hotel union President Peter Ward said he would work to ensure passage in the Council, where 34 members - a veto-proof majority - are expected to sign on, sources said.

"We don't need to dismantle one of the few solid industries we have in this city," he said, "to build condos for rich people."

TLOZ Link5
March 23rd, 2005, 05:28 PM
How in the world is that a concession? This developer bought a building and wants to make condos. That's the end. They should be happy he's keeping 150 rooms. He'd make more money going all condo and retail. They should also be happy he wants to perserve the interiors, which he does not have to.

When is enough gonna be enough with these unions?

At what price do conversions like these come? Converted hotels lose their legacy as great semiprivate buildings and become just another apartment building. The desire to maximize profit is the justification used to tear down hotels like the Savoy-Plaza and the Astor, and now the Plaza is in the crosshairs of overzealous developers. Shall the Waldorf=Astoria be next (though, granted, it's already partially residential)?

Office buildings that are no longer viable are well-suited for conversions: they're mostly private domains that are no big loss to the general public. Now, however, we're talking about a building that was conceived as a gift to the city and is an institution the world over. New York without the Plaza is almost unthinkable — as is New York as a bedroom community, which might happen if the market, oh-so-favorable to condominiums, gets its way.

March 23rd, 2005, 05:39 PM
Amen to that.

"It will not only hurt The Plaza hotel's renovation plans," said Elad President Miki Naftali, "but will also harm New York's booming real estate industry."
He's right about the first part, but as for the second - it wouldn't cause a ripple.

March 26th, 2005, 10:18 AM



A controversial City Council proposal to prevent The Plaza hotel from converting more than 20 percent of its space to condos would be tossed by the courts in "two seconds," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.

The mayor was reacting to council legislation introduced last week to block Elad Properties, the new owner of the landmark hotel, from cutting the number of rooms it has by 80 percent — from 805 to 150.

Unions at the hotel are opposing the new owner's plans because it will cost longtime workers at The Plaza their jobs.

But critics have charged that the council proposal, which would affect other hotels in the city, will drive business from the Big Apple.

"The law that the City Council has created — it hasn't passed yet — it wouldn't stand two seconds in court," Bloomberg said yesterday on his weekly WABC radio show.

"It wouldn't stand the light of day. It's just not the right answer. It doesn't send the right message either, to anybody who might want to invest in this city."

Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens), the lead sponsor, said he and his colleagues welcome a court challenge.

"If the trend is to convert, we have to reexamine that trend. We're not looking to limit how they run their business; thousands of jobs are at stake. The tourism industry depends on hotel space in the city," he said.

Addabbo added that hotels that could prove financial hardship would be permitted to exceed the 20 percent cap under his bill.

March 26th, 2005, 10:55 AM
At what price do conversions like these come? Converted hotels lose their legacy as great semiprivate buildings and become just another apartment building. The desire to maximize profit is the justification used to tear down hotels like the Savoy-Plaza and the Astor, and now the Plaza is in the crosshairs of overzealous developers. Shall the Waldorf=Astoria be next (though, granted, it's already partially residential)?

Office buildings that are no longer viable are well-suited for conversions: they're mostly private domains that are no big loss to the general public. Now, however, we're talking about a building that was conceived as a gift to the city and is an institution the world over. New York without the Plaza is almost unthinkable — as is New York as a bedroom community, which might happen if the market, oh-so-favorable to condominiums, gets its way.

Um, the Plaza already has permanent residents. This is just increasing the ratio of residents to guests. What's the big deal? The Plaza will still be a hotel, it will simply have more apartments. You can still stay at the Plaza, and the lobby will still be open.

The site will be more public than before, because the old private meeting rooms on the second and third floors will become semipublic retail space. Right now these spaces are completely inaccessible to the public.

March 26th, 2005, 11:01 AM
Amen to that.

He's right about the first part, but as for the second - it wouldn't cause a ripple.

Wrong, the Council plan would destroy the hotel industry. This has nothing to do with hotels (on the whole the city is gaining hotel rooms, not losing them), it has everything to do with powerful unions.

Rational companies wouldn't invest in NY hotels, because they would be barred from using their investment in the future as residences. This would kill the hotel market, as it would limit the range of potential future uses.

If you interfere in a property and legislate a single low margin use (see rent control), you hurt the value of the property, and you limit the City's tax revenues from the property.

April 7th, 2005, 06:01 PM
From the nysun (http://daily.nysun.com/Repository/getmailfiles.asp?Style=OliveXLib:ArticleToMail&Type=text/html&Path=NYS/2005/04/07&ID=Ar00103):

Battle Over Plaza Becoming Costly


By JULIE SATOW Staff Reporter of the Sun

Money is flowing from both sides as the hotel union maneuvers to thwart the plan of the Plaza Hotel’s owners to close the Midtown landmark at month’s end and convert it into luxury condominiums.

The New York Hotel Trades Council, according to a source, has spent a total of $2 million on television spots, fullpage newspaper ads, and rallies featuring a civil-rights campaigner, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and a movie director, Peter Bogdanovich.

Elad Properties, meanwhile, is spending more than $20,000 a month for two public relations firms, a lobbying group, and a well-connected former city official.

A relatively unknown developer until it charged onto the New York real estate scene last summer with the $675 million purchase of the Plaza, Elad plans to shutter the 805-room hotel April 30, resulting in the loss of 800 union jobs.The Plaza is scheduled to reopen late next year with 200 condominiums, a scaleddown,150-room hotel,and a retail space on the ground floor.

“With big public fights like the West Side and the Plaza, this is now the way in which things are decided in the public realm: We buy hired guns to craft our message,” the executive director of the nonprofit think tank the Citizens Union, Dick Dadey, said.“What is very important is that the public know the source of these funds, where they come from, and what they are being used for.”

A public relations executive, Lloyd Kaplan of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, is the newest member of the Elad publicity machine, joining another spokesman, Steve Solomon of Rubenstein Public Relations.

Sources familiar with the fee structures of the two firms said the minimum monthly charge for for-profit clients is between $5,000 and $10,000. Mr. Kaplan said that description of the

firm’s fee scale was inaccurate, but he declined to elaborate. Mr. Solomon did not return calls by press time.

“Linden Alschuler is heading up everything to do with the condominium conversion, while Rubenstein will represent Elad the company, the same way it always has,” Mr. Kaplan said.

Elad also has retained the lobbyist Suri Kasirer, whose husband, Bruce Teitelbaum, is former chief of staff to Mayor Giuliani. Ms. Kasirer, head of Kasirer Consulting, is being paid $14,500 a month from March through May, and then $10,700 a month from June through March 2006, according to state lobbying records. Mr.Teitelbaum, too, has represented Elad: Following a rally last month by the hotel workers’ union, he served as Elad’s spokesman.

The union hired the Sunshine Group, headed by Kenneth Sunshine, to do its public relations, and the Advance Group, headed by Scott Levenson, to do its lobbying. Both Mr. Sunshine and Mr. Levenson work for several other unions, including the powerful healthcare workers union, 1199 SEIU.

It could not be determined yesterday what the Sunshine Group’s fees were. The Advance Group, which has been retained by the hotel workers’ union since 1999, is paid a monthly fee of $4,500.

“This is a crusade about saving union jobs, not about money, so I’m not upset we are not being paid more,” Ken Frydman, who was subcontracted by the Advance Group to help fight the hotel’s closure, said.

The $2 million spent by the union comes mostly from an extra $10 a week that all the New York hotel union members are paying, according to a source familiar with the union expenditures, who spoke on condition that he would not be named. The source said the union has $20 million in its “defense fund.”

Much of the money in the Plaza campaign goes to costly TV spots, another source who demanded anonymity said. This week, for example, the union paid for two advertisements during a Yankees game.

The union also spent a reported $20,000 on a trip to Israel to seek to convince Elad Properties’ parent company, Elad Group, to halt its conversion plans of the hotel.

In addition to the closure of the Plaza, the two sides are battling over a bill introduced in the City Council that would limit to 20% the share of hotel rooms in any hotel that could be converted into condominiums. The bill, introduced by a Queens Democrat, Joseph Addabbo, would require that the Plaza retain more than four times the number of hotel rooms it plans to reopen with. The measure has still not gone to committee, where it will be decided whether it falls within the council’s jurisdiction, Mr. Addabbo said.

In addition, the council member said, he floated the idea of a mixed-use unit — a unit that a developer could sell as a condominium but would revert back to use as a hotel room for part of the year. Mr. Addabbo said the hotel union had agreed to the plan, but “Elad said no.” He added: “In my mind, that is no way to negotiate.”

April 12th, 2005, 09:43 AM
April 11, 2005

Cosmetic heir to broker Plaza compromise?


Slide Show: Rallying for the Plaza (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-plazarally-pg,0,243069.photogallery?coll=nyc-manheadlines-manhattan)
Photos: Inside the Plaza (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-plaz-gallery,0,7645163.photogallery?coll=nyc-manheadlines-manhattan)
What people are saying (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-plaz-link,0,5319100.storylink?coll=nyc-manheadlines-manhattan)

Ronald S. Lauder, heir to a cosmetics fortune and a billionaire private investor, is trying to broker a compromise with the Plaza Hotel's owner that would limit the number of proposed condominiums and maintain its integrity as a landmark.

Lauder is acting as a concerned New Yorker "who feels strongly it remain as a grand New York hotel," his spokesman, Hank Sheinkopf, said yesterday. Lauder has held "quiet, non-public meetings" with key parties and is trying to mediate a resolution, which could include some condo apartments, he said.

Elad Properties, a private New York company owned by an Israeli businessman, bought the 98-year-old hotel last year for $675 million. It plans to close the hotel for about 18 months on April 30 and spend $350 million to reconfigure the space into 200 condos and a hotel with 150 guest rooms; there are 805 rooms now.

Some prominent New Yorkers have also urged that the owner preserve the opulent and historic public rooms, such as the Grand Ballroom, Oak Room and Palm Court.

Lloyd Kaplan, a spokesman for Elad, said he had no comment on talks seeking a compromise.

Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, which opposes Elad's plan largely because it is estimated the union will lose 900 jobs, said he offered a compromise that splits the building between condos and a hotel rooms, with the condos getting the premier real estate along Central Park South and half the Fifth Avenue side.

Under his design, there wouldn't be a large retail component, which requires zoning changes that the landlord may not obtain anyway, he said.

The 350-room hotel that Ward envisions would incorporate the ballroom and restaurants and maintain 450 jobs. "We save the hotel, and they make a king's ransom" -- a $500-million profit in 30 months, Ward said.

Ward said Lauder's proposal "goes further than my compromise."

Sheinkopf said Lauder, who Forbes magazine estimates is worth $2.7 billion, is not interested in buying the Plaza.

Miki Naftali, Elad's president, said last week that the focus of the Plaza's lobby and public spaces will be on "fashion and food," with restaurants and a high-end retail emporium.

Lauder, chairman of Clinique Laboratories, one of the brands of the Estee Lauder Cos., is the younger son of the company's late founder, Estee Lauder. He is active in politics, the arts and philanthropy and has a large personal art collection. He is chairman of the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art, and he founded the Neue Galerie, a museum of German and Austrian Art on Manhattan's Upper East Side. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Austria under President Ronald Reagan and ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for mayor in 1989.

Meanwhile, Elad has hired Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe to determine whether a proposal before the City Council that would limit the number of condo conversions in hotels is constitutional.

Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc.

April 14th, 2005, 10:03 AM
April 13, 2005

City Hall to save The Plaza


Now City Hall is trying to help save The Plaza.

Representatives of the national landmark and of the union that has 900 members there met in the past two days at City Hall with staffers from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.

They've been trying to reach a compromise on the future use of the stately structure, including the number of luxury condominium apartments to be carved from the 805 rooms, sources familiar with the talks said.

With an April 30 deadline looming as the final guest checkout, the sides have been feverishly negotiating an agreement that would preserve the icon and its well-known public spaces and restaurants, maintain an ample number of hotel rooms and jobs, and provide the owner with enough condos to make a decent profit on its planned $1-billion investment.

The New York Hotel Trades Council has said it will continue to press for saving members' jobs, past the hotel closing if necessary. Sources say Bloomberg is involved because it's to his benefit to protect good-paying union jobs, particularly in an election year, and tourism is an important engine of the city's economy.

Elad Properties, which bought the hotel last year for $675 million, has built condo apartment towers and converted commercial structures to residential units throughout Manhattan. It plans to gut much of the Plaza's interior and create 200 apartments and a 150-room boutique hotel. It also wants to attract a high-end fashion retailer.

The union wants Elad to essentially split the building down the middle -- giving the better half with the Central Park views to the permanent residents -- and to keep 350 hotel rooms and 450 jobs.

Prominent New Yorker Ronald Lauder stepped in recently to try to forge a deal, believing the Plaza should be preserved as a landmark and a world-famous hotel.

To explain its plans to restore the 98-year-old hotel, which is showing its age, Elad launched the first of hundreds of television commercials Tuesday that will run for two weeks, as well as a Web site (www.ReallySaveThePlaza.com). The union also has a site on the issue (www.SaveThePlaza.com).

Elad says the best-known interior spaces, including the Grand Ballroom, Palm Court and Oak Room, won't undergo structural modifications. However, Elad will introduce "highly appropriate retail uses within its most important public spaces." And it talks about designing "horizontal and vertical circulation," which in layman's terms means installing escalators and corridors. Only the exterior has landmark status.

Elad says the renovation will generate $100 million in additional annual revenue for the city. A source said Elad has been offered more than $1 billion to sell the Plaza and walk away from the controversy, but turned down the bids.

In a related matter, the City Council will hold a hearing today on a proposal by the union that would limit the number of hotel rooms that could be converted to condos. Elad hired Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, and he is expected to argue that the measure is unconstitutional.

Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc.

April 15th, 2005, 04:39 PM
Deal Reached Between Union, Plaza Hotel

Thu Apr 14, 5:27 PM ET

By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - In a deal that saved the tradition of high tea in the Palm Court — along with hundreds of jobs — the new owners of the landmark Plaza Hotel and its union reached an agreement that will keep some elegant interior spaces intact and reduce the number of rooms converted into luxury condos in an upcoming renovation.

"The Plaza lives," declared Mike Naftali, chief executive officer of Elad Properties, while employees cheered, "The Plaza has been saved!"

The agreement was finalized Thursday in a City Hall meeting involving Elad and the New York Hotel Trades Council. It still needs to be ratified by the union membership, but that appears to be a formality.

Elad owner Yitzhak Tshuva and union president Peter Ward were greeted with wild applause when they raised their intertwined hands toward the gilded ceiling of the ballroom where Donald Trump once married Marla Maples.

"We look forward to working for many years," said Ramon Richards, a Plaza banquet waiter since 1988.

Since its 1907 opening, the 19-story Beaux Arts building has become an integral part of New York City and its lore. The Beatles stayed there in 1964 while in the city for "The Ed Sullivan Show," Trump used to own it, and author Kay Thompson's famous children's books on Eloise are set there.

The agreement comes just two weeks before a $350 million renovation is scheduled to begin at the hotel overlooking Central Park. Elad paid $675 million for the Plaza last summer.

Elad will still convert part of the building into 150 luxury condominiums, but 348 rooms will remain part of the hotel. Earlier plans called for turning the 805-room hotel into 200 condominiums and 150 hotel rooms.

The union was guaranteed 350 jobs with a good chance that number could increase, and workers who wanted a buyout received two weeks severance for every year worked, Ward said. The Plaza currently has 900 union workers.

Under the agreement, the hotel's famed public spaces — the ballroom, the Palm Court team room, the Oak Room and the adjoining Oak Bar — will remain "open for use to all New Yorkers and visitors to our city," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

While the hotel's exterior was granted landmark status in 1969, its interior did not have that protection. Fears that the hotel would lose many of its famous spots prompted a "Save the Plaza" movement.

More than 40 movies were filmed at the hotel, from Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" to "Home Alone 2." Ernest Hemingway once suggested that F. Scott Fitzgerald, a huge fan of the hotel, donate his liver to Princeton and his heart to the Plaza.

And architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who made the hotel his Manhattan headquarters, offered the ultimate compliment: "I like it almost as if I built it myself."

May 16th, 2005, 11:46 AM


May 14, 2005 -- The new owner of the Plaza Hotel is seeking to sell all or a portion of his stake in the 300-room hotel to a luxury brand.

Elad Properties, run by CEO Miki Naftali, already paid $600 million for the hotel and planned on spending another $300 million on renovations to it and the 150 condomiums he is creating.

According to Real Estate Investment & Finance, Elad Naftali has reached out to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a partner in the Plaza's former ownership structure.

Naftali told REFI he was also in discussions with Raffles Holdings, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, and Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, among others.

If a deal can be cut with the prince, it could bring Fairmont management back to the location. Fairmont has also been in discussions with the Essex House, but it is likely only one city hotel would fly its flag.

Sources tell The Post Naftali hopes to sell either the entire hotel and some of the retail portion, or a non-controlling half stake in that entity to an investor or a luxury brand while he continues with the development of the condominiums.

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc

June 1st, 2005, 06:20 PM
as always i'm late on world events
i was so upset when i found out that the plaza hotel is no more being that i have always wanted to go there and never having the money for it i will never get to see the inside of it. and for that i'm so upset there will never be a plaza hotel NEVER.


June 1st, 2005, 10:54 PM
Apparently you haven't read the recent updates. Bloomberg and the hotel unions lobbied for the planned conversion to be cut back so that more hotel rooms could be retained and that the famous spaces on the first floor of the hotel can remain open to the public. You'll just have to wait for them to reopen it.

June 2nd, 2005, 03:28 PM
I'm new to this forum, so firstly hello everyone! Its a fantastic place and brings back fond memories of my stay in New York

My girlfriend and i stayed at the Plaza last christmas and found it to be a truely magical experience. The barman told us at the time it was being made in Condos and he was losing his job, so i'm glad to read that some rooms/jobs will be saved. I hope to return to the plaza some day, but need to save up again!

June 29th, 2005, 12:21 AM
Plaza Owner Details Plans for Penthouses and Stores


Published: June 29, 2005

The new owner of the Plaza Hotel detailed its plans yesterday, for the first time, to redo the Plaza, including adding penthouse apartments on the unused roof and a large underground shopping space where kitchen equipment is now stored.

The plans were immediately criticized by preservation groups. Elizabeth Ashby, president of the Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance, said, "The Plaza is remembered as the Plaza Hotel, not as the Plaza Store or The Plaza Mall or the Plaza Condos."

At a public hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday, Elad Properties, the new owner, revealed that in addition to a 350-room hotel and about 180 condominium apartments, it planned rooftop apartments and about 39,000 square feet of luxury stores underground. The hotel previously had 800 rooms.

By comparison, Manhattan's largest supermarket, Whole Foods at the lower level of Time Warner Center, is 59,000 square feet.

Elad must seek rulings from the landmarks commission before it can begin its $350 million renovation, which the company hopes to finish in late 2006, in time for the Plaza Hotel's 100th anniversary.

Preservation groups and Elad are seeking the designation of eight interiors as landmarks, including the Oak Bar and Grand Ballroom. Elad is also seeking a "certificate of appropriateness" for work on the roof.

The work includes revamping outdated heating and air-conditioning equipment and lowering the roof several inches, which could enhance the value of the terrace and other elements of penthouse apartments by allowing higher walls atop the roof. A 1991 commission ruling, still in force, permits the building of penthouse apartments.

The most critical ruling Elad seeks from the commission is a "change of use" permit expanding the commercial use of the Plaza. The permit must also be approved by the city planning commission. Years ago, such permits allowing conversion of factory space to residential use helped establish SoHo lofts.

The Plaza, however, is a special case. In a zoning quirk, part of the Plaza, including one side of the Grand Ballroom, is zoned residential, while the other part is zoned commercial. Elad argues that in order to preserve the interiors - operating the Oak Bar as a bar, for example - it needs the "change of use" permit to put most of the building into a commercial zone.

The commission had expected to vote yesterday, but delayed consideration of all three Plaza hotel matters until July 12.

At the hearing yesterday, John Oleske, a lawyer for Ronald S. Lauder, the philanthropist who opposes expanded retail use in the Plaza, urged the commission to take its time in reviewing Elad's plans.

"Change the use," Mr. Oleske said, "and you destroy the landmark."

Alex Herrera, an official with the New York Landmarks Conservancy, a private advocacy group, asked in his testimony where escalators, elevators and direction signs for shoppers would go. "After all," he said, "underground is not usually where the Fifth Avenue shopper normally goes."

Miki Naftali, president and chief executive of Elad, said the company needed the rulings to restore the Plaza, not to change it.

The rooftop permit, for example, is needed to bring order to the paint shop, air-conditioning equipment, bathroom vents and elevator shafts there, he said. "It looks like a jungle," Mr. Naftali said.

As for unsightly escalators and other potential problems, he said, "if we ask for more vertical transportation, we will come back in front of the public, and ask for it, and we'll talk about it then."

Questioned after the hearing whether he was trying to pull a fast one by transforming a historic hotel into a shopping center, as his critics were implying, Mr. Naftali replied: "I'm not trying to do it, I don't want to do it and I cannot do it. It is not my style."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

July 13th, 2005, 12:00 PM
New York Times
July 13, 2005

Renovation of the Plaza Hotel Clears a Hurdle


The Palm Court of the Plaza, before its glass ceiling was removed.

Renovations at the Plaza Hotel will restore it to its original grandeur, city landmarks officials said yesterday after they cleared the way for vast changes, including converting hotel rooms to condominiums and adding an underground complex of luxury stores.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission recommended the approval of a landmarks waiver that would allow for 39,000 square feet of commercial space. It gave permission to make changes to the exterior of the building - which already had landmark status - including adding a new entrance for the stores. The commission also bestowed landmark status on eight of the hotel's famous public rooms and adjacent corridors and vestibules, including murals, chandeliers and decorative metalwork.

The rooms include the Palm Court, the setting for a scene from the movie "The Great Gatsby;" the Terrace Room, where Marilyn Monroe's dress strap once slipped off her shoulder while she was being interviewed by reporters; and the Oak Bar, where Cary Grant's character was kidnapped in "North by Northwest."

Before the decision, the owner, Elad Properties, announced a plan to recreate a 1907 domed glass ceiling in the Palm Court, a move that the landmarks commissioners suggested at a hearing several weeks ago.

Even so, a preservation group said the changes would destroy the character of one of the grandest grand hotels in the city, and pledged to fight the next step of the approval process, at the City Planning Commission.

"It isn't a part-store, part-hotel, part-condo - it's a hotel," said Elizabeth Ashby, president of the Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance. "It is the Plaza, known worldwide for what it is."

And the businessman Ronald S. Lauder, who has lobbied to restrict the Plaza to hotel use and went so far as to fly to Israel to negotiate with Elad executives, said in a statement that he would continue his efforts to save the Plaza "from being transformed into another gaudy bazaar."

Eight members of the commission voted to recommend allowing more commercial use, and one abstained. The commissioner who abstained, Roberta Brandes Gratz, said that none of the developer's proposals had shown any concern for preservation until the glass ceiling in the Palm Court was proposed.

Walter B. Melvin, an architect for Elad, said he had spent the past two weeks planning a recreation of the original Palm Court "laylight," the glass ceiling with patterned lead canes that once formed the decorative interior of a 40-foot skylight.

A 1921 addition to the hotel blocked the natural light, and the skylight itself was removed around World War II, according to Elad representatives, to prevent it from being a beacon during air raids. The new plan calls for artificial lights above the glass ceiling to create the impression of sunlight.

"The laylight was a crucial factor," said Robert B. Tierney, the chairman of the commission. "What triggered that was our assessment that the preservation plan was significant," he said, adding that the plans would return the hotel to its 1920's sumptuousness.

Yesterday's decisions marked the latest chapter in a contentious process. Elad Properties had originally planned to convert the entire building to stores and apartments, but last winter, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg helped broker a compromise that would keep nearly half the hotel rooms and preserve the jobs of about 350 of the Plaza's 900 workers.

The renovation will turn the 800-room hotel into a 350-room one with 180 condominiums, apartments and shopping space. The renovation is expected to cost more than $350 million, and Elad hopes to finish it by late 2006, in time for the Plaza's 100th anniversary.

"For me personally this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something unique," said Miki Naftali, the president and chief executive of Elad.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

August 21st, 2005, 03:08 PM
The Plazas That Predate The Plaza


Published: August 21, 2005

November 30th, 2005, 08:36 PM
From http://cityrealty.com:

Fairmont to manage hotel rooms, hotel-condos and condos at Plaza Hotel 28-NOV-05

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., has entered an agreement to manage the Plaza Hotel, which is currently undergoing a $350 million renovation and is presently closed.

When it reopens, which is now expected in early 2007, it will have 182 condominium apartments and 282 hotel units/keys.

Of the 282 hotel units/keys, 152 can be sold as "hotel-condos," in which purchasers will own part of the condominium entity and have the right to stay for up to four months a year in one of the units, all of which will be sold fully furnished.

Under the terms of the agreement, according to Shannon Lynch, a spokesperson for Elad Properties, which brought the hotel for about $675 million last year, Fairmont will manage both the hotel units and the condominium apartments.

Ms. Lynch said told CityRealty.com today that her company, Linden, Alschuler & Kaplan, has "received no information" that Prince Alaweed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia may be negotiating to buy back into the hotel in which he was a partner in the former ownership structure. The prince reportedly does has a relationship with Fairmont.

Fairmont announced that it was entered the agreement with Elad November 22.

The Plaza Hotel is one of the major landmarks of New York City and there was considerable controversy when it was acquired by Elad that too much of the hotel would be converted to apartments. Elad subsequently reduced the number of condominium units in its plan.

There was some confusion about how many hotel rooms it will have. Some reports mentioned a number higher than 282, but there were referring to labor union room counts as opposed to the number of hotel "keys," and as there are numerous suites the correct number, Ms. Lynch said, is 282.

December 17th, 2005, 06:34 PM
From http://cityrealty.com:

Plaza Hotel condo apartments will have garden courtyard 15-DEC-05

The “Private Residences” at The Plaza Hotel will have their own entrance on Central Park South and a large garden court, shown at the right, with cascading fountain at the bottom of the building’s large rectangular lightwell.

Apartments will range from about $2 million for a one-bedroom unit facing the courtyard to about $40 million for a high floor unit facing Central Park.

A three-bedroom plus library unit with 3,068 square feet on the sixth floor at the southeast turret corner at 48th Street facing Fifth Avenue is priced at about $8,600,000. A two-bedroom unit with 2,348 square feet on the 13th floor is priced at $7 million.

A large billboard was erected today at the northeast corner of the building announcing the availability of the “residences.” There will be a total of 181 apartments, all on the north and east sides of the building and the hotel rooms will be on the south side along 58th Street.

Not all of the apartments are available now. Units on the 4th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th and 19th floors will be “released” at a later date.

The Plaza Hotel was designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, the architect who designed the Dakota apartment building at 1 West 72nd Street, and opened in 1907. In 1921, Warren & Wetmore designed an expansion on 58th Street. The hotel’s exterior was designated a city landmark in the 1960s and eight of its public rooms were declared interior landmarks last July.

Elad Properties, which bought the Plaza last year for $675 million, received approval from the New York State Attorney General’s office for the condominium apartments, which are being offered for a total of $1,331,000,000. Elad is restoring many of the building’s spectacular interiors including the Palm Court where it will replace the ceiling with a leaded-glass lay light to recall the original.

The building is now surrounded by handsome steel structural supports for scaffolding.

Many of the smaller hotel rooms are being enlarged for the apartments and will have mosaic stone floors by Sicis. Kitchens will have Nero Marquina stone counters and Callacata marble tile backsplashes. Original features such as chandeliers, ornate mantelpices and decorative moldings will be preserved and restored where practical.

The address of the Plaza is 768 Fifth Avenue and 2 Central Park South. The hotel will have 152 suites available for purchase as hotel condominiums and its entrances will be on Grand Army Plaza facing Fifth Avenue and on 58th Street


December 19th, 2005, 03:24 PM
A letter I received-


I'm writing everyone that could be remotely concerned with what has happened at the Plaza Hotel. I felt some sense of relief when the worthless Landmarks Commission finally realized that the Plaza was a treasured landmark that belongs to the people of New York. I have recently heard heartbreaking accounts from people who have first hand knowledge of what went on the last days the Plaza closed and was ransacked during the public sale. Those rotten bastards at Elad sold everything, lock stock and barrel down to the double P brass door knobs and door plates. In the "Land marked" areas, they used unskilled, pissed off union workers to "pack up". Chandeliers were packed like garbage, the irreplaceable smoked glass mirrors in the Palm Court were broken, everything was done to spare spending any money that was necessary. When it re-opens, it's going to look like a cheap Trump building. This is a tragedy right up there with losing Penn Station. Elad must some how be held accountable. If not legally and financially, they should at least feel the wrath and outrage of New Yorker's like myself who have fond memories of the Plaza. Feel free to post this appeal or forward to anyone who might be remotely concerned or interested.

Best regards,

Michael Lawing

TLOZ Link5
December 19th, 2005, 06:48 PM
Heaven help us if this is true.

December 20th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Actually I wrote the letter that he posted and it is 100% true. The public spaces were landmarked but that Vile Miki Naftali of Elad Properties only sees $ signs. They could care less about the history or sentiment that the Plaza envokes. Every thing was done to save the most $$$. The "Landmark" status was a joke....there is no enforcement by the worthless Landmarks Commission. And now Elad has the New York Times doing a PR campaign for them just in time for the condo sales office to open. They know that by the time that it re-opens in 2008 they will have sold all the condo's and will be laughing all the way to the bank as the public is outraged at the mess they made.

In contrastl, I stopped in the new Balducci's on 14th and 8th, in a Landmarked Bank building. The minute you step in the door you realize that it was restored to it's soaring glory by people who cared and sparred no expense.

"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn't afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed." from the New York Times 1963 on Penn Station


December 20th, 2005, 01:57 PM
I saw a show on NYC TV cable - Grand Tour: New York, New York. Anyone? It's basically about the Plaza and the Waldorf-Astoria, and the oppulent structures they were when built. It showed the incredible craftsmanship of these two hotels including some rooms, architecture, and artwork I had never seen - true treasures from the American guilded age. It pains me to hear it was ransacked and the mirrors broken in the Palm Court. The chandeliers belong in a museum, not the garbage.

January 5th, 2006, 06:17 AM
Plaza Apartments, for Millionaires Only


Published: January 5, 2006

After talking about the "genius idea" of mosaic tile floors in the bathrooms and the look of marble countertops in the kitchen and the quarter-sawn wood that will go into the herringbone floors in the dining room, Alexa Lambert mentioned the price of the apartment: $9.45 million.

"Or," she said, "to be exact, $9,455,625."

The near-eight-figure price was not for an apartment in a prewar building on Park Avenue or Fifth Avenue or Central Park West where Ms. Lambert has made a career of brokering big-money sales. This apartment was in the Plaza Hotel.

Well, that is where the apartment will be. Ms. Lambert, a senior vice president of Stribling & Associates, the real estate brokerage firm that is marketing the Plaza redevelopment, could not lead the way on a walk-through because so far, apartment 803 does not exist. So she turned to a 21st-century sales tool: a computerized system that shows floor plans on a wide-screen television. She touched a smaller screen, and views from the future apartment appeared. A photographer had snapped pictures from each window in the 99-year-old building, on a sunny day after the Plaza closed in April.

Something else was different about this sales pitch. Ms. Lambert was describing the apartment not to a customer, but to a reporter. The owners would not let a reporter tag along with a potential customer. But they agreed to let Ms. Lambert make the same presentation she would make to someone who could afford the 10 percent down payment. Not to mention the other 90 percent.

For most customers, a visit to the Plaza begins with a greeting from Edwin Trinka, a doorman at the Plaza for 42 years who was rehired by the condominium developer.

He remembers when the Beatles were inside, as guests, and crowds were outside, screaming. He remembers shaking hands with Tony Randall and Johnny Cash. He remembers when Ed Sullivan would stop in to buy a newspaper-and buy one for Mr. Trinka, too.

Ms. Lambert, emerging from what was the Edwardian Room and is now the sales office, talked about the lobby, on Central Park South. "Secure and private," she said. "Only the residents enter that way." In other words, guests in the 282-room hotel that will occupy the other side of the building will enter from a different entrance, facing Fifth Avenue.

Ms. Lambert said that the Plaza appealed to "people with lots of staff." People who move from large prewar apartments "won't have to manage a staff" at the Plaza because the hotel part of the Plaza can pitch in. For a price, of course.

So how much will a maid cost?

"For most people, that's not the question," she said. "The question is, can I get it?"

In the sales office, she showed off a small, wireless touch-screen that she said would be in each apartment. "Mr. & Mrs. Private Plaza Residence Owner," the screen said.

"You can send for your car" using the device, she said, and see when it pulls up in front of the building.

"Or," she said, "you can make a reservation for dinner." The screen offered a choice of Jean Georges, Daniel, Le Bernardin, Per Se and Aureole. She tapped the screen and reserved a table for March 18, at Aureole. It is not a real reservation, she said. The system has yet to be connected to the restaurants.

But back to Ms. Lambert's sales pitch. Maybe Apartment 803 was not enough - not big enough, at just under 2,000 square feet, or not exciting enough. Ms. Lambert had a suggestion: Do what three potential buyers are considering doing - combine Apartments 807 and 809, the apartment at a corner of the building.

Of course Apartment 807, at 2,248 square feet, is more expensive than Apartment 803 - $1,306,875 more expensive. And then there is Apartment 809 - another 2,820 square feet, and another $13,837,500. Or, for something even larger, there is Apartment 2001, a 5,613-square-foot triplex for $29.5 million.

"We worked really hard on the floor plans to make them make sense," she said. "We've walked through 740 Park, 720 Park, 720 Fifth. That's our frame of reference. We wanted to be like that. These are not flawed. You won't say, 'Here's the problem.' "

She also mentioned the George V, the ultra-luxury hotel in Paris. "Architects would sit around and we'd refer a lot to the George V. I didn't tell them I've never actually stayed in the George V."

Her presentation finished, Ms. Lambert handed over a $39.95 book, "At the Plaza: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Hotel" by Curtis Gathje (St. Martin's) and a document case. She does not say anything as crass as "hurry-they're going fast" or that she would like to put a sales contract in the document case. But since she made her pitch, the week before Christmas, Apartment 803 has been sold.

Still, she said, there are others.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

March 14th, 2006, 07:31 AM
The Plaza's Crown Jewels Go Up for Auction Tomorrow

BY A.L. GORDON - Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 14, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/29063

Tomorrow the auction house Christie's will be selling off the creme de la creme contents of the Plaza Hotel, plucked by its curators before a liquidation sale last spring.

The public viewing, which started Saturday and runs through today, has attracted large numbers of people intrigued by the emotional value of the objects as much as - if not more than - their face value. Prices are expected to range from $500 to $18,000.

The buyers are varied, and include locals and an international crowd. "The Plaza is so New York, and so not New York. Whether you went to a wedding there or stayed there or had drinks at Trader Vic's, it belongs to everybody," the director of special collections at Christie's, Cathy Elkies, said.

But what's got New York society talking isn't doorknobs and vases, pianos and teacups, but rather the private party the auction house is hosting tonight, a re-creation of Truman Capote's famous Black and White Ball of November 28, 1966.

"It's a celebration of Truman's seminal event, and it also celebrates the sale. The ball represented the spirit of the Plaza for decades," Ms. Elkies said.

Capote's ball made history by bringing together celebrities, socialites, and politicians, as well as journalists, who drained the first of many wells of ink on the subject. The party honored Katharine Graham, and called for black-and-white attire and masks. Capote poured as much creative energy into its planning as he did into writing his books.

Tonight, the Christie's ballroom will be wrapped in an artist's rendering of the Plaza's ballroom, and decorated with the hotel's sconces, chairs, and dance floor - all items to be sold tomorrow.

The chairman of Christie's, Stephen Lash, is filling Capote's role as host, and there's no honoree, but rather a corporate partner, Bentley Motors, which will be providing transportation for some guests.

On the guest list are people who attended Capote's party, such as Phyllis Newman, Kenneth Jay Lane, Kitty Carlisle Hart, and Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman; baby boomer socialites, such as Jamee Gregory, who plans to wear a vintage Bill Blass dress "if it fits," and members of the young set, such as Zani Gugelman and Lauren DuPont, who are planning to wear masks by Badgley Mischka. In other words, a predictable New York party crowd, varied in age but not so much in the worlds they come from.

"Obviously it will bring back some wonderful memories, and of course one will be comparing. But it's unfair to compare what we're going to see to the likes of Douglas Fairbanks dancing with Lauren Bacall," the band leader who played that night and will play again tonight, Peter Duchin, said.

The author of a book on Capote's party published this month, "The Party of the Century" (Wiley), Deborah Davis, said Capote picked the Plaza Hotel for its glamour and its favored status among writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, and because the ballroom was so intimate. "He definitely wanted his party to have that feeling, that it was private and not commercial," Ms. Davis said.

The menu starts with black and white sweets - eclairs, lady fingers, and homemade white marshmallows striped with extra bittersweet chocolate - and finishes with a midnight breakfast - scrambled eggs, Plaza chicken hash, buckwheat blinis with creme fraiche and caviar, and lots of muffins.

The event is by invitation only, and doesn't even require the purchase of a ticket. The sale, however, is open to all comers.

Of the items in the auction, Ms. Davis is most attached to the mirrors. "So many of the photographs from the party show the guests adjusting their masks in the mirror. It makes you think about all of the people over the years who have looked in those mirrors and may be looking back at you," Ms. Davis said.

Alas, with little room in her Montclair, N.J., home, she's thinking of buying something more practical. "I'll probably wind up bidding on the copper pots and pans. Both my husband and I cook," Ms. Davis said.

And if there's any justice, some young female Eloise fan will wind up with the pair of her red shoes. "I saw a girl looking at them Sunday, and I'm sure her parents will be back. Forget Manolo Blahnik. That girl wanted those shoes," Ms. Davis said.

While the decorating authority Ms. Gregory said she doubts the auction items will make their way into the fabulous Park and Fifth Avenue residences profiled in her book, "New York Apartments" (Rizzoli), ritzy interior designers are taking an interest.

"We're definitely going to the auction," a spokeswoman for the event and interior design firm Antony Todd, Caroline Kramer, said.

The interior designer John Barman said he was looking at the chandeliers. "Too bad I just finished decorating my client Neil Simon's place," Mr. Barman said. Mr. Simon, the playwright, wrote "Plaza Suite," the play and film set at the hotel.

Because of the emotional factor in the auction, it's difficult to predict what items will go for. But it's clear that a piece of the old Plaza will be cheaper than the new. Apartments - scheduled for occupancy in early 2007, the building's centennial year - are priced at $2 million to $33 million.

March 19th, 2006, 05:33 PM
March 19, 2006
Street Level | Midtown
History, With a Private Entrance


IT wasn't quite King Kong making himself at home atop the Empire State Building, but the Plaza Hotel received its first condominium residents around New Year's Day, when a gargantuan, glamorous woman and her equally enormous blond daughter appeared on the building's Fifth Avenue facade, dwarfing the pedestrians below.

The two are depicted in a four-story-tall billboard that shows them relaxing in a magnificent Plaza living room adorned with a chandelier and suffused with buttery sunlight. The image conveys a lifestyle so radiant that the gilded figures of Winged Victory and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in a nearby statue now look as if they are hurrying across Grand Army Plaza to buy a condo whose golden surroundings will suit them perfectly.

In December, after 98 years in which not even goddesses or war heroes could take permanent possession of any of the hotel's rooms, the Plaza's new owners, Elad Properties, began marketing 182 luxury apartments. So began the formal transformation of the storied hotel rooms on the Central Park and Fifth Avenue sides of the building into private condos.

The Plaza, a French Renaissance-style landmark, has had personal resonance for generations of New Yorkers, and the urge to own even a scrap of the hotel is so powerful that bidding was brisk on Wednesday at a Christie's auction of Plaza bric-a-brac like martini glasses. So while some in the neighborhood feel a profound sense of loss at the selling off of the hotel's plum rooms, for buyers of the new condos, the chance to possess a grand chunk of city history can be thrilling.

"To own a piece of the Plaza, that's the main thing," said Barbara Girard, a native New Yorker who made sure she was one of the first to make the trip up the red carpet on Central Park South for a sales presentation. "How special is that?"

Ms. Girard, who was married at the hotel in the 1960's, signed a contract in January to buy a two-bedroom apartment near the top floor, which she plans to connect to a one-bedroom that her mother bought next door.

Living in a private apartment within a hotel building will be, Ms. Girard said, "like a fairy tale" because it will combine the best of two lifestyles. "We have all the hotel services we need, plus all the hotel guests coming in and out, and that is lively," she said. "And then you have your privacy in your residence as well."

With Plaza condos selling from $2.2 million to about $40 million, buyers like Ms. Girard would seem unlikely candidates to elicit grumbles of "There goes the neighborhood." But that is the sentiment among some nearby residents.

Bonnie Roche, an architect who lives four blocks south of the hotel, said that once the Plaza reopened next year, she would resent the building every time she walked past, even though its owners insist that beloved spaces like the Palm Court will remain open to the public as restaurants and shops. "You're going to know that the only rooms you could ever rent are the ones facing 58th Street, not the park, so that dream is lost," Ms. Roche said, referring to the shrinking of the hotel from 800 rooms to 282. "It's not the grand gesture of arms open. It's going to be the whole sense of tight manipulation and of commerce."

In the opinion of Ms. Girard, who as an owner will come and go freely through the private marble-and-bronze lobby on 59th Street, some neighborhood griping is inevitable. "There's going to be a lot of envy from the other buildings around there," she said.

But some in the immediate vicinity of the Plaza are, in fact, eagerly awaiting the $350 million polishing of the area's crown jewel, which had deteriorated. "You know we'll have nice neighbors because the price of the apartments is supposed to be quite high," said Boris Lipovsky, a retired doctor who lives nearby on Central Park South.

Other neighbors predict that the influx of wealthy residents will improve their daily lives by attracting specialty food stores to the building's new retail space. "I just pray every night for Balducci's," said Lynda Wiggins, a real estate broker who rents an apartment on West 58th Street.

But one businessman wondered if the new multimillion-dollar condos might spell trouble. "You might get people in there who might not want carriages around," said Tom Kelly, a top-hatted carriage driver standing with his horse near the statue of General Sherman. "And there's a slight odor problem here."

E-mail: streetlevel@nytimes.com

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

May 2nd, 2006, 01:01 AM
To commemorate the year anniversary of the Plaza Hotel's closing, I've posted an update on what's been going on at the Plaza over the last two years at my blog, www.msmanhattan.net (http://msmanhattan.blogspot.com/). I had always wanted to stay at the Plaza so, as the hotel entered its final week a year ago, I rushed to spend one night there. It was both magical and sad. My blog entry includes, in addition to the wrap-up on its closing and update on the last year, excerpts from a journal I kept on my brief stay, plus a Q&A I did last year with Curt Gathje, Plaza historian. The articles in this thread were a big help in my research, and I included two links to the thread in my blog. I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have kept this thread up-to-date for helping keep interest in the Plaza alive. A year later, I still can't fathom that this wonderful historic New York landmark has become just another condo development.

May 2nd, 2006, 07:39 AM
Sad, indeed.

Not just this, but all those other jewels the worthless Landmark Commission has failed to protect...

Is New York's soul slipping away?

May 2nd, 2006, 07:10 PM
My friend, a resounding YES, I'm sorry to say.

June 3rd, 2006, 11:32 PM
Buying sight unseen at the Plaza

Developer Elad Properties shrouds marketing in secrecy; condos at least one-third sold, brokers say

By Lauren Elkies

Elizabeth Lorenzo of Stribling & Associates, exclusive sales agent for the Plaza. Condominium units at the storied Plaza Hotel can still be had for a hefty price, but how many of them are unsold remains unclear. So does an actual look at the multimillion-dollar apartments, thanks to a marketing campaign that denies potential buyers a visit to the palatial residential units.

Instead, would-be buyers view a CD of the famed landmark building at One Central Park South. The short film, featuring a dramatic musical score, is a compendium of promotional material that shows what the refurbished Plaza will look like -- inside and out. The publicity effort includes viewing computerized floor plans of the 182 apartments, which have price tags of up to $39.5 million.

Brokers of exclusive properties say this approach is perhaps a bit too exclusive, but that doesn't stop folks in the business from talking about the Plaza units.

"I feel that not disclosing and having this kind of vagueness is going to be counterproductive," and raises more questions, said Louise Phillips Forbes, a senior vice president at Halstead Property. "It's OK to be a little vague," she said, but "people want to feel that they are not the only people pulling the trigger."

Roger Erickson, senior managing director at Sotheby's International Realty, said he heard from one Stribling & Associates real estate agent that 30 percent of the apartments have signed contracts (no one has closed on a deal yet). Another agent told him 50 percent.

"What I have heard is that the sales have been going pretty well," said Andrew Gerringer, managing director of the Prudential Douglas Elliman Development Marketing Group, which has represented Plaza owner Elad Properties in other deals. "They're probably at least 50 percent sold," he estimated, with the majority selected on the Central Park side rather than on the Fifth Avenue or courtyard sides.

"We've sold really well throughout the building," said Elizabeth Lorenzo, a broker specialist with Stribling, the exclusive sales and marketing agent for the private residences at the Plaza. She declined to reveal the number of available apartments, saying that the number is always evolving.

The one- to five-bedroom condominiums range from 800 to 6,300 square feet and command prices of between $2.2 million and $39.5 million. Three apartments available in early May were apartment 2009, a $39.5 million four-bedroom penthouse triplex; apartment 2001, a four-bedroom duplex with an asking price of $29.5 million; and apartment 913, a two-bedroom apartment for $7.7 million.

Buyers have hailed from places as disparate as Manhattan's Park and Fifth avenues, Georgia, Boston, California, Russia, Italy and Ireland, Lorenzo said.

Some potential buyers rejected the Plaza because of the unknowns, brokers said.

"I feel it's necessary to stand in the place to get a feeling about it," especially when it runs in the multi-million dollar price range, said Cheryl Tanenbaum, a broker for CMT Private Real Estate.

A senior vice president and managing director of Brown Harris Stevens, Kathleen Sloane, said that while potential buyers appreciate the top-notch hotel services, including a one-touch virtual concierge, the apartments are "very pricey," especially as a pied-a-terre. In addition, she said, "there are a limited number of apartments in the Plaza with superior views."

Forbes of Halstead said, "I think the community of New Yorkers aren't really sure who their neighbors will be and that's a concern for them." Also, some of her clients were turned off early when they were told they could not choose from the entire inventory because apartments were strategically withheld from the market or they were already taken. "They are particularly wealthy people that would consider buying when they had the pick of the litter," she said.

Elad purchased the 805-room hotel for $675 million in 2004. The hotel was shuttered April 30 to undergo $350 million in renovations to restore the entire hotel, including the Palm Court and the Oak Bar and Room, to its 1907 grandeur. A two-story penthouse is being added to the 19-story building, and a private center courtyard is being built on the fifth floor. In addition to the private residences, there will be retail space and 282 hotel rooms and suites, 152 of which will be available for purchase for short-term stays while functioning other times as part of the hotel. The restored Plaza is scheduled to partially open in early 2007 with a grand opening in time for the hotel's 100th anniversary that October.

"The Plaza really speaks to someone -- beside the location -- that loves that building -- that kind of building," said Nellie Wilson, a senior associate broker at the Corcoran Group. The hotel "epitomizes traditional New York," and that appealed to one of her overseas clients, who purchased a pied-a-terre in the Plaza early in the year.

To some degree, investing millions of dollars for an apartment you have never seen requires an act of faith.

"You place a certain amount of trust in the developer and the people who are representing the developer," Wilson said.

The allure of the Plaza is "partially the magic, partially the view, partially the fact it's a condo," said Edward Lee Cave, who owns a high-end boutique firm of the same name. He brokered a deal at the Plaza for a Manhattan couple in April. "You're buying a piece of history," Cave said. The couple settled on a two-bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park. "They said the shoe fits," Cave said, and plunked down the asking price of more than $10 million.

Copyright © 2003-2005 The Real Deal.

July 19th, 2006, 09:40 AM
A Hotel With 2 Kinds of Condos: Dear, and Dearer Still


Published: July 19, 2006

The Plaza Hotel’s first guest, not quite 99 years ago, was Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, the stylish grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. His five-room suite was within summoning distance of another room he paid for, for a servant.

Mr. Vanderbilt and everyone else who ever stayed at the Plaza — Harrimans and Wanamakers, the Beatles, even parents who promised their youngsters a glimpse of Eloise — did the same thing: they rented. Most paid by the night, though some paid by the year.

If Vanderbilt were around when the Plaza reopens next year, he would be able to buy a place and settle in. Once the renovations are completed, one side of the Plaza — the south side — will have 11 floors of condominiums with 152 units.

That means that the Plaza will have two kinds of condominium apartments inside: expensive and more expensive. Also on the south side will be 130 conventional hotel rooms — conventional in the sense that they will be rented by the night. The Plaza’s owner talks of large and luxurious rooms worthy of six-star guidebook ratings.

The 152 merely expensive hotel condos, on the south side, will have seven-figure prices. Some of the 182 more expensive ones, the ones on the north side of the building facing Central Park, which the Plaza is calling its “private residences,” have eight digits after the dollar sign.

The less expensive hotel condos will have unobstructed views across 58th Street or — horrors — of the back walls of the buildings next door. The more expensive condos look out on the park and Fifth Avenue.

The less expensive condos will come with something that is not included in the price of the more expensive ones: furniture.

The more expensive condos will come with something that is not included in the less expensive ones: a stove. If a hotel condo owner insists on doing his or her own cooking, “the butler will bring in a cooktop,” said Miki Naftali, the president of Elad Properties, which bought the Plaza in 2004 for $675 million.

Yes, he said, a butler will be stationed on every floor of the hotel condo.

The people who buy the more expensive apartments on the park side of the building can spend 365 days a year in them, if they wish. Under a deal the Plaza’s developer made with the city last year amid concerns about how many hotel rooms were being converted to condos, the owners of the less expensive condos will be limited to living in theirs for no more than 120 days a year.

On the other 245 days, they can be rented out, either by the hotel or by the owner, depending on how the owner wants to handle it.

Of course, less expensive and more expensive are relative terms, especially in the particular level of the real estate stratosphere that is New York, and even the lower prices have a lot of zeroes. The smallest suite in the hotel condo section, at 500 to 600 square feet, will go on sale for $1.6 million; the largest, a duplex penthouse with a terrace on the top floor with 2,100 square feet in all, will carry a price of $9 million.

There are $9 million apartments on the 58th Street side of the building, too. They have better views but are closer to the street and are slightly smaller than the hotel-condo penthouse. By comparison, there will be a 5,600-square-foot triplex on the park side for $29.5 million.

Describing the plans, Mr. Naftali referred to the hotel condos as “product,” as in: “The product is perfect for those who’d like to own a piece of the Plaza. They’ll own title to the unit.”

Mr. Naftali expects the hotel condos to be second or third homes, and the owners will have to give the hotel 90 days’ notice of their arrival. Mr. Naftali said that is far less notice than other hotel condos in this price range require. Some, he said, require owners to book their stays two to three years in advance.

He also said the Plaza would accommodate last-minute schedule changes, or relatively last minute. “If you call 30 days ahead, you’ll get your unit if it’s available,” he said. If it is not available, the owner will be put up in someone else’s condo.

Mr. Naftali said that sales people have been calling customers on the waiting list from the more expensive side of the building. He said “more than 60 percent” of those apartments were sold in the seven months since they went on the market.

“We’re very happy with that,” he said.

Elizabeth Stribling, whose real estate brokerage firm is marketing the Plaza redevelopment, added, “We’re marching along ahead of schedule here.”

Without naming names, she also said that the profile of buyers was different from what many people had expected it would be. “So many people thought, ‘The foreigners were coming, the foreigners were coming, the foreigners were coming,’ ” she said. But the largest group of buyers so far are people from the New York area, she said.

Her agents will sell the hotel condos the way they sold the more expensive condos. At least for now, they cannot show model apartments because they have not been built, so the agents are relying on a computerized virtual tour in the sales office, the space that was once the Edwardian Room. The system shows floor plans on a wide-screen television set, down to the furniture.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

July 19th, 2006, 09:44 AM
For those keeping track, that 5,600 square-foot triplex priced at a cool $29.5 million is approximately $5,268 per square foot. Wow.

July 24th, 2006, 05:45 PM
Mh, after watching Home Alone 2, I wanted to stay in (at?) the Plaza for a night...in the 'real', the original Plaza. But no I will never be able to do so. :(

October 1st, 2006, 10:55 AM
I wanted to stay in (at?) the Plaza for a night...in the 'real', the original Plaza. But no I will never be able to do so. :(
Well, there's always the overdone Waldorf...

November 1st, 2006, 10:31 AM
The exterior seems to be losing its patina.

November 1st, 2006, 12:54 PM
^ You mean they're cleaning it? Or is it just losing that je ne sais quoi?

November 1st, 2006, 01:22 PM
Last time I passed by, the walls were grimy, chipped, and cracked. The sidewalk in front of it was a mess, too. Quite possibly the worst stretch of sidewalk on all of Park Avenue.

November 1st, 2006, 01:57 PM

I meant the Plaza, not the Waldorf.

November 1st, 2006, 02:22 PM
I gathered you meant the Plaza. Are they cleaning the outside?

November 1st, 2006, 02:31 PM
The mansard roof is covered with construction screening. Scaffolds were erected on the exterior.

I didn't see any cleaning being done, but the walls look uniformly white, like they've been blasted by Philistines.

February 6th, 2007, 01:44 AM
Plaza shots show landmark damage

A photo exhibit shows the
Plaza stripped of its furnishings.

By Vanessa Londono
February 2007 (http://www.therealdeal.net/issues/FEBRUARY_2007/1170200639.php)

Renovations of the Plaza Hotel have been kept under wraps since the building was sold for a residential conversion.

But "The Plaza," a collection of photographs by Laura Salierno, shows drastic changes to the iconic hotel.

Salierno's photos show the rooms at the landmark hotel stripped of their original furnishings from the early 1900s. The photos can be seen at the online Raandesk Gallery of Art at raandeskgallery.com and will be on display at Punch & Judy at 26 Clinton Street on the Lower East Side through March 10.

The photographs detail the aftermath of a public liquidation sale of the furnishings held in the fall of 2005. The Plaza Hotel was sold in 2004 to Elad Properties, an Israeli development group, and is being converted to a mixed condo and hotel-condo development. Elad has been mum about buyers and prices at the renovated property.

"I walked around looking at what was being done to the Plaza," said Salierno. "There is so much history. The Plaza Hotel was visited by so many people."

"Everyone knows the Plaza and has some sort of relationship with the hotel," said Jessica Porter, Raandesk Gallery owner. "It's really moving to see the photographs all together. She captures the feelings of transitions and change in the shadows. There is emptiness and yet there is something alive in the space."

Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal.

May 17th, 2007, 05:34 PM

May 17, 2007

Move over, Elvis. Vegas needs Eloise impersonators.

Elad Properties, owner of The Plaza, announced a $5 billion plan to build a "Plaza-inspired" casino-condo-hotel complex on the Las Vegas Strip yesterday.

That means little Eloise - who made The Plaza home in the eponymous series of children's books - could be singing "Viva Las Vegas" by 2011.

And if Elad Properties President Miki Naftali plays his cards right with the Vegas venture, he may build 20 more Plaza's worldwide, from London to Tokyo.

"I think it's terrific. You can never have too much of New York," said Donald Trump, a former Plaza owner whose Trump Towers will sit near the new Plaza.

Not everyone agreed.

"It's an insult," said Rose Ganguzza, whose 2002 documentary, "New York at the Movies," was filmed in The Plaza. "The Plaza was like this wonderful, fantastic wedding cake for everyone, and now they made it like a high-priced piece of Entenmann's cake."

Many Big Apple icons have been repackaged into Las Vegas glitz. New York New York, a casino complex, has 12 towers modeled after landmarks including the Empire State Building.

Naftali bought the original Plaza in 2004 and is converting it into condos.

With additional reporting by Chuck Bennett.

Copyright 2007 NYP Holdings, Inc. (http://www.nypost.com/seven/05172007/news/regionalnews/a_bettor_plaza_for_las_vegas_regionalnews_braden_k eil.htm)

May 17th, 2007, 09:26 PM
And if Elad Properties President Miki Naftali plays his cards right with the Vegas venture, he may build 20 more Plaza's worldwide, from London to Tokyo.

Who would have imagined just a few years ago that the Plaza brand would soon become so watered down that it might grace a Las Vegas Casino/Hotel and 20 other projects around the world. Simply despicable.

May 18th, 2007, 08:36 AM
They won't be the first. The very fancy Ritz-Carlton group has done the same thing.

This is their Vegas property done in a reproduction of Florence's Ponte Vecchio.

It's beyond retarded looking :



May 18th, 2007, 03:11 PM
Is this really a surprise to anyone? Gaudy imitation has long been Vegas' calling card: the Luxor (Egyptian pyramids); the Excalibur (Medieval England); Paris, Monte Carlo, the Venetian (self-explanatory); Bellagio (an Italian village on Lake Como); Caesars Palace (Rome); and of course, New York, New York.

May 18th, 2007, 06:19 PM
The DIFFERENCE is that this is a brand name not BORN in Vegas and it is a brand name that represents (and has built it's reputation on) refinement.

You can't possibly compare the Plaza name to "the Luxor (Egyptian pyramids); the Excalibur (Medieval England); Paris, Monte Carlo, the Venetian (self-explanatory); Bellagio (an Italian village on Lake Como); Caesars Palace (Rome); and of course, New York, New York."

May 18th, 2007, 06:41 PM
Imitation is the name of the game. It makes little difference if the product is branded or not. The New York, New York Hotel has scale replicas of the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty - each of which is arguably more famous than the Plaza. In a way, replicating (or trying to) an entire city is even more audacious: you're taking a well-known image, a brand in its own way, that has been cultivated by millions of people over the course of hundreds of years.

May 18th, 2007, 06:56 PM
yeah, there's that too.

May 22nd, 2007, 01:24 AM
Have you guys ever been inside the Wynn Las Vegas? It's pretty swank - if this tops that (which I think it easily can, for 5 billion dollars) then I think it will enhance the Plaza brand, not dilute it.

My suggestion - make a donation to the Metroplitan Museum of Art or Moma to share art in Las Vegas part time. Sort of a Guggenheim on steroids, somewhat akin to the Louvre in Dubai.

May 23rd, 2007, 07:21 AM
May 23, 2007

Triplex Penthouse at the Plaza Hotel Set to Sell for $56 Million

Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Tommy Maroti, an ironworker, Tuesday on the 20th-floor roof
of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, where renovations are under way.


In an era of ever more expensive apartments in Manhattan, a triplex penthouse condominium in the Plaza Hotel has gone into contract for $56 million, in what would quite likely be the most expensive Manhattan apartment sale to date when it closes later this year, according to several real estate executives briefed on the transaction.

The condominium combines two separate apartments, one a duplex, the other a triplex, for more than 9,200 square feet of living space. The apartment will also have an inside elevator entrance and a terrace of more than 500 square feet, much of it overlooking Central Park, according to real estate executives who reviewed the offering plan.

The buyer was said to be a London-based businessman in the oil business. He signed the contract to buy the apartment, even though the developer, Elad Properties, headed by Miki Naftali, would not combine the apartments into a single unit until the sale was completed, the executives said.

The contract, said to have been signed in December, is one of several lucrative contracts signed in the conversion of the hotel, at Central Park South and Fifth Avenue, providing 180 luxury condominium apartments and 152 slightly less expensive condominium hotel rooms.

Last week, the online edition of The New York Observer reported a sale at the Plaza in excess of $50 million, but brokers familiar with the building could not confirm whether that report referred to the same sale or a second sale in the same price range.

The highest apartment price reported to date in Manhattan had been a $45 million contract said to have been signed by Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund manager, for 15 Central Park West, a condominium building under construction opposite the west side of Central Park. The price for the Plaza penthouse is higher, and it is larger, but at a square-foot cost of about $6,100 it is comparable to prices at 15 Central Park West.

Lloyd Kaplan, a spokesman for Elad Properties, said sales in the Plaza were strong, with 85 percent of the units in contract. Officials at Stribling & Associates, the sales agent for the building, declined to comment.

The buyer was represented by Elizabeth Lee Sample and Brenda S. Powers of Brown Harris Stevens, who also declined to comment. They are also the brokers for an even more expensive offering, the 16-room penthouse atop the Pierre Hotel, at Fifth Avenue and 61st Street, with an asking price of $70 million.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

June 7th, 2007, 11:03 PM
The following thread is about the other project Elad is doing


July 30th, 2007, 12:41 PM
July 30, 2007

Plaza Ballroom Will Reawaken to Glamour, and Rivalry

Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Much color research was done for the paint restoration
of the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom.

Truman Capote, with Katharine Graham of
The Washington Post as the guest of honor,
was host of the “Black & White Ball” in the
Plaza’s Grand Ballroom in 1966


Until the music died when it was shuttered two years ago, the gold-trimmed Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel was always a neoclassical fantasyland for lavish rites of passage.

For generations the room was a magnet for debutantes, brides and charity strivers, and it rose to the profligate summit of the event universe in 1966, when Truman Capote gave his legendary “Black & White Ball” there for 540 of his closest friends.

With all its extravagance and mystique, the ballroom would seem invulnerable to such mercantile concepts as revenues and market share. But when it reopens in mid-fall, after a $12.5 million restoration and renovation, it will be welcomed by fierce new competition, as well as the lingering cloud from a battle two years ago over the future of the landmark hotel.

After its Rip Van Winkle years out of the city’s party whirl, the Plaza — which will celebrate its hundredth anniversary in October — will be, incongruously, a newbie in an overheated event-space market.

New York is the nation’s largest market for catering and “it’s growing,” said Malcolm M. Knapp, who heads a restaurant consulting firm in Manhattan that bears his name. He put the total market for the city’s hotels, banquet halls, museums and other spaces at more than $1 billion.

“The luxury catering market is $250 million, and there are more caterers coming onto the scene every day,” said Nick Valenti, chief executive of Patina Restaurant Group, which has $15 million in yearly revenues catering Manhattan events.

And in recent years even luxury customers have evolved, “going from millionaires to billionaires,” said Preston Bailey, an event planner and designer whose clients have included Bill Cosby and Catherine Zeta-Jones. “They want the best of everything.”

Those high expectations include “better food, more hospitable service, more exciting events and more interesting venues to hold them in,” said David Swinghamer, chief financial officer at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which launched its Hudson Yards Catering business two years ago.

He added: “Customers want more than waiters who ask whether you want red or white, chicken or fish, and you hope they don’t bump your chair.”

Elad Properties, which bought the Plaza for $675 million in 2004 and is spending lavishly to turn it into a hybrid condominium and hotel, has tried to answer these escalating demands by signing a 25-year ballroom contract with Plaza Events, a partnership between a high-end Manhattan caterer, Great Performances, which serves food and supervises events at the Asia Society and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Delaware North Companies, a Buffalo-based stadium and arena caterer with deep pockets.

The renovation of the ballroom and its ancillary spaces, paid for by Plaza Events, is costing as much as the construction of the entire hotel in 1907. The cost of the restoration work on the ballroom alone is expected to be $2.5 million.

Elad’s president, Miki Naftali, said the 4,800-square-foot ballroom will return to its 1929 look; the capacity will be 500 at seated dinners. The ballroom’s original chandeliers are being cleaned and repaired, paint is being refreshed after 200 samples were taken to research the original colors, tapestries are being cleaned, original mirrors and sconces are being refurbished, and six ceiling oil murals depicting angels and cherubs are being restored.

Also under construction are a 2,600-square-foot pre-function space for brides and debutantes, cocktail reception areas, meeting rooms and new wedding-party spaces. There will be two new gilded elevators to the ballroom, which is on the third floor, and new bathrooms there (revelers used to have to walk down a flight).

“We’re even installing a chef’s table in the kitchen,” where favored guests can experience the culinary hurly-burly firsthand, said Dean Martinus, the president of Great Performances.

But the new owners are looking to regain more than the grand ballroom’s vintage cachet: they want the refurbished room, and its new event-space satellites, to be a way of life again.

“We see the ballroom coming back to its glory years,” Mr. Naftali said. “We are aiming at the top of the market in New York, and we want it to be the best function space in the city.”

Through the years, the ballroom became wedding-reception central for Patricia Kennedy and Peter Lawford, Julie Nixon and Dwight David Eisenhower II and, yes, Ms. Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. The room’s reputation was forever entwined with the hotel itself, where scenes from “The Way We Were” and “North by Northwest” were filmed and where Eloise, the children’s-book imp, was tirelessly promoted.

Can a new generation be drawn to the Plaza way of life?

“All the girls loved the Plaza because they went to the Palm Court with their parents and felt all grown up, and because they loved Eloise,” said Margaret Ternes, executive director of the Fund for Park Avenue, a nonprofit neighborhood improvement group. “Then later they’d be going to debuts and weddings there saying, ‘Do you remember when we were little?’ ”

Now, she said, “kids want to be hanging in the meatpacking district.” Already, the total for the reconstruction of the entire Plaza has risen to $400 million, $50 million more than originally announced. Mr. Naftali said that “the building was in worse condition than we thought, and we wanted to do it right.”

In April 2005, responding to protests against the conversion of the Plaza to condominiums and stores, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg helped broker a compromise that preserved nearly half the hotel rooms and kept the jobs of more than a third of the Plaza’s 900 workers. The Plaza will have 282 hotel rooms and suites, 152 of which will be “hotel condos,” hotel rooms that condominium tenants can occupy a maximum of four months per year. There are an additional 181 condominiums, which have sold for $2.5 million to more than $50 million.

During the controversy, Elad was savaged by preservationists and labor unions, but Mr. Naftali considers his company “a savior,” saying: “The property was losing money, but we found a way to save the Plaza.”

Preservationists are taking a wait-and-see stance on the renovation, said Elizabeth Ashby, president of the Historic Neighborhood Enhancement Alliance, a group active in the 2005 opposition.

But Peter Ward, once one of the Plaza owners’ most formidable condominium opponents as president of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, is now a booster. “I think the Plaza can prosper along with our people,” he said.

For decades, the Plaza competed primarily with its vintage luxury-event rivals, the Waldorf-Astoria, Pierre and St. Regis hotels, said Mr. Bailey, the event planner. That stratosphere now includes the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle, he said.

Beyond this, there has been an explosion of event spaces in institutions, skyscrapers and renovated buildings to meet demand, said Mr. Knapp, the restaurant consultant.

So “the return of the Plaza gives everyone another option,” said Joseph Cozza, vice president of sales for Cipriani U.S.A., which has four banquet spaces in Manhattan.

The Waldorf has nearly three times the capacity of the Plaza at seated dinners, and is booked two years in advance, said Jim Blauvelt, executive director of catering at the hotel, who said annual revenues in the Grand Ballroom are $35 million. Industry experts said Plaza Events will be aiming for $15 million in ballroom sales.

“We welcome the Plaza’s return,” Mr. Blauvelt said, adding: “The Pierre and the Plaza were always each other’s main competitor, and that is where maybe the teeth will be bared.” Managers at both the Pierre and the St. Regis declined to be interviewed. In the end, the greatest asset of the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom may be the hotel’s location “in an area that has a residual elegance that is hard to replicate,” Mrs. Ternes said, adding: “And of course, there is something so terribly royal about sweeping up those steps to the ballroom.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/4306/plazahotel01cna7.th.jpg (http://img45.imageshack.us/my.php?image=plazahotel01cna7.jpg) http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/923/plazahotel02cak2.th.jpg (http://img45.imageshack.us/my.php?image=plazahotel02cak2.jpg)

July 30th, 2007, 01:11 PM
Oh my... enlarge those photos and look at the detail they are bringing out. Beautiful. And see how nice the shear, black, backdrop of 9 57th works.

September 15th, 2007, 06:21 PM
Just saw the plaza today, its looking good, but did it always have the green detailing at the top?

September 16th, 2007, 05:08 PM
did it always have the green detailing at the top?

Always, no. That level of detail is present in early 20th-century photos of the hotel that I've examined but missing by the time that this photo was taken, in 2004:


September 16th, 2007, 06:04 PM
Wow yeah its alot different now, not in a bad way looks great!

September 17th, 2007, 12:10 PM
Yeah, now the roof has light green details against contrasting dark brown and dark green. Before it was just green. Looks great.

September 17th, 2007, 12:21 PM
FYI, a sex shop will be opening up in the Plaza. forget Times Square, just go to CPS

September 17th, 2007, 02:07 PM
And as a result, an updated "Eloise at the Plaza" is also in the works.


September 17th, 2007, 10:01 PM
A crew was taking down the scaffolding along CPS this morning.

Up top she really looks gorgeous ...



September 17th, 2007, 10:42 PM
The new green stuff is not its orginal copper.

September 18th, 2007, 03:32 PM
The new green stuff is not its orginal copper.
...and it's the wrong green.

(Slightly yucky.)

September 18th, 2007, 04:42 PM
It's very cool.

VERY bibbity bobbity boo.

September 28th, 2007, 03:23 PM
September 28, 2007

New York's Plaza turns 100 with luxury facelift

By Belinda Goldsmith

The Plaza Hotel, one of New York's most beloved buildings, is celebrating its 100th birthday after a major face-lift that has shaped it for the next century -- but also made it even harder to book a room.

The Plaza, a 19-story French Renaissance building overlooking Central Park, closed two years ago for a $400 million renovation in which many rooms were converted into luxury apartments and public areas restored to former glory.

The hotel, which first opened its doors to the public on October 1, 1907, is now set to reopen in November with a quarter of the number of hotel rooms but with New Yorkers eager to return to one of the city's most loved buildings.

After all it was the setting for author Kay Thompson's Eloise books about a little girl who lived in the hotel, and has been the backdrop to many major movies including "North by Northwest," "Barefoot in the Park" and "Home Alone 2."

Its list of celebrity and royal guests and residents reads like a who's who of the past century.

The Beatles stayed there, as did "Great Gatsby" writer F. Scott Fitzgerald whose attachment to The Plaza was so well-known that Ernest Hemingway once reportedly advised him to leave his liver to Princeton and his heart to The Plaza.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright lived there while building the Guggenheim Museum, Truman Capote held his legendary masked "Black and White Ball" in the Grand Ballroom, and the hotel hosted Mick Jagger's 50th birthday party.

"It is the people's hotel that was so celebrated in literature and movies," said Ward Morehouse III, author of a book about the landmark hotel, "Inside the Plaza."

"Turning it condominiums was a way of preserving the building and maybe is a return to its roots when people did live there as residents but there still is a feeling that New York has been cheated out of a grand hotel."


The conversion of The Plaza sparked some protests, including from celebrity New Yorkers like Susan Sarandon and Woody Allen, as it is the city's only hotel designated as a national historic landmark.

When property magnate Donald Trump bought the hotel in 1988, owning it until 1995, he said: "I haven't purchased a building, I have purchased a masterpiece."

When the hotel reopens, it will have about 134 hotel rooms compared to about 800 rooms -- most on the unglamorous side of the building away from the park and costing from $675 a night.

It will also have 152 condominium hotel units that can be rented and 181 private residences that have sold at prices ranging from $2.5 million to about $50 million.

Orly Daniell Hackmon, chairwoman of The Plaza developer, Israeli development company Elad Properties which bought the hotel for $675 million in 2004, said public areas like the Palm Court, Oak Bar, Oak Room and retail stores would open soon.

She said the developers adhered closely to the original design, even making a replica of one of three ballroom chandeliers that was stolen after being taken down for the marriage of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The hotel's birthday will be celebrated Monday with fireworks and a star-studded party.

©2007 Reuters

October 1st, 2007, 02:21 PM
At Reborn Plaza Hotel, a Party to Mark 100 Years

By JAMES BARRON (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/james_barron/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: October 1, 2007

One hundred years ago today, the first guest checked into the Plaza Hotel, signing the register with a flourish. He was Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, the heir to a famous fortune.

Museum of the City of New York
1907 The Plaza Hotel its opening year, when its first guest was Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt.


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/10/01/nyregion/01PLAZA.1261.jpgSlide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2007/10/01/nyregion/20071001_PLAZA_SLIDESHOW_index.html)100 Years at the Plaza (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2007/10/01/nyregion/20071001_PLAZA_SLIDESHOW_index.html)

His arrival was orchestrated by the Plaza’s first manager, who wanted the new hotel to open with a splashy, attention-getting stunt.

The Plaza will celebrate its anniversary tonight with another stunt, a party in its front yard — Grand Army Plaza, on Fifth Avenue at Central Park South — as this storied New York institution enters its second century with a new look and fresh challenges.

This time, the Plaza will serve as both centerpiece and backdrop. The Plaza has played that role before, for Eloise and her fictional exploits and Truman Capote (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/truman_capote/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and his social exploits at his Black and White Ball in 1966. Tonight there will be fireworks, some spiraling off the Plaza’s turreted roof, and the numerals 100 will be displayed on the side of the building.

There will be waiters serving slices of a meticulous scale-model birthday cake made by the society baker Ron Ben-Israel based on architectural drawings of the Plaza, with a facade of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and windows of crystallized sugar.

And there will be a serenade to the Plaza: a version of the song “My Way,” featuring lyrics reworked by Paul Anka.

“My Way” is appropriate, said the chairwoman of El Ad U.S. Holdings, whose Elad Properties subsidiary paid $675 million for the Plaza three years ago and is close to completing a top-to-bottom renovation that is turning part of the building into some of the most expensive condominiums in the city.

The chairwoman, Orly Daniell, said “My Way” was fitting because of her father, Isaac Tshuva, 59, an Israeli dealmaker who climbed to No. 214 on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires last year. Forbes estimated his net worth at $4 billion from real estate and other holdings, including more than 200 service stations in Israel and this country.

“Everything my father accomplished in his life, he did his way,” Ms. Daniell said in an interview last month, with Mr. Tshuva sitting across the Edwardian Room at the Plaza, talking on a cellphone. “He’s not your old-school businessman.”

No, and that is why, to many New Yorkers who remember what the Plaza once was, its new ownership and new look have raised questions: Will the Plaza have the same cachet, or will all that be a nostalgia-tinted memory?

Once the construction crews are gone, it will no longer be just a hotel — it will contain some of the city’s priciest private homes. Will the Plaza become a new kind of period piece, a symbol of new money and expensive real estate, rather than a gathering place that somehow drew in a cross-section of New York?

These are questions that matter to the Tshuvas, and not, apparently, just for business reasons.

“When I first connected to the Plaza,” Mr. Tshuva said after ending his call and joining the interview, “I connected with my heart.”

He and Ms. Daniell said that was in the 1980s, when he was a tourist visiting New York. But Ms. Daniell said the emotional pull remained strong as he negotiated the deal for the Plaza.

“When he bought it,” Ms. Daniell said, “he completely adored the Plaza and what it represented — the look and the feel of the building, and he was committed to bringing it back to what is remembered.”

Gal Nauer, the architect who coordinated the renovations, had heard that for a long time — Ms. Nauer is Mr. Tshuva’s other daughter and remembers the tourist visit. “The toughest thing at all levels was the intention, to recreate the legend of the Plaza,” said Ms. Nauer, joining her father and sister for the interview.

“The challenge is that New Yorkers are so connected to the Plaza — they celebrated their sweet 16 there, they had tea with their aunt or their grandmother there. They have a vision of what the Plaza was, and what it should be.”

Hearing that, Mr. Tshuva jumped up from his chair in the Edwardian Room, which has most recently been the sales office for the condominiums. He zipped past a model of the Plaza that sits in a glass case and pointed to a poster on the opposite wall.

It was a reproduction of a 1907 advertisement showing the Plaza’s original prices. A room went for as little as $2.50 a day ($4 with bath). A room with a parlor, two bedrooms and two baths was $25 a day.

Mr. Vanderbilt, the first guest, even took a room within summoning distance of a servant. According to Curtis Gathje, an author who has written a history of the Plaza, the hotel’s first manager “wanted to send a message to the world about what kind of place the Plaza aspired to be. Vanderbilt embodied it perfectly: He was young, dashing, well known and a scion of one of America’s wealthiest families.”

That established the Plaza’s reputation, a reputation it retained for the rest of the 20th century. “It was a luxury hotel, but it was too big,” he said, “but yet it still somehow managed to give the illusion that it was a luxury hotel, and I think it was helped a lot by events that recharged it. When Truman Capote had his party, it gave it a psychic charge. And they shot a lot of movies there, and that’s why it’s known to the world. Most people have a nostalgia for the place, and yet they never patronized it and are aghast at the thought of it being changed.”

The contrast between the Plaza’s first owners and its new owner is unmistakable. Mr. Tshuva grew up in a family of 11 in a one-bedroom apartment in Israel. As a teenager, he worked as the stock clerk in the family’s grocery store. Ms. Daniell said he had no choice but to go to school at night.

The investors who built the Plaza a century ago ran $1 million over their original budget, according to some accounts. Crain’s New York Business reported last month that the renovations were running at least $50 million more than planned, with overtime and higher materials costs driving the total to about $400 million. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Tshuva said yesterday, “We are investing whatever is needed to restore the beauty of the building.”
Ms. Daniell said the Plaza would open in stages in the next few months. A handful of condominium owners have already moved in, she and Ms. Nauer said. The Palm Court and the ballrooms are expected to open in December, and the hotel and new retail stores in early 2008.

But first, there is the party. The Tshuvas hired Harriet Weintraub, a publicist, who recruited the high-end event planner David E. Monn.

For the fireworks-and-light display beginning at about 7:20 p.m., the Plaza hired Fireworks by Grucci, the family-run Long Island company, and Syncrolite, which has done light shows at the pyramids in Egypt, the Eiffel Tower and the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia.

Mr. Monn said it will be “an all-inclusive celebration.”

“There’s an invited list,” he said, “but this is really for the public to see.” That reflects what he called “the unique thing about the Plaza.”

“People you wouldn’t put on your radar screen feel an ownership with the Plaza,” he said. “They’ve had special moments there.”

Like Mr. Tshuva, he had his first such moment as a tourist, visiting New York for the first time when he was 19. He went to the Palm Court.

“I felt as if I had been a part of a place of history,” he said. “Be it people who were married there, had a date there, people have such memories. From what I know of the owners, they want all of that beauty and elegance and stature that the Plaza holds to be the Plaza in its new form. The new form is very much the old form.”

Copyright The New York Times.

October 2nd, 2007, 12:35 PM
really interesting read about this hotel, will make a note to visit when I go next year :)

October 2nd, 2007, 05:05 PM
It is well worth a vist. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones had one of their wedding receptions there.
From your hotel walk west to 5th. Avenue, turn right and walk up to Grand Army Plaza at 59th. Street.

October 2nd, 2007, 05:15 PM
Thanks brian will definetely visiting :)

November 17th, 2007, 04:33 AM
Big Deal
Bragging Rights at the Plaza

Published: November 18, 2007

THE Astor Suite was designed to be the most expensive condominium in the conversion of the storied Plaza Hotel (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/plaza_hotel/index.html?inline=nyt-org) on Fifth Avenue. In its previous life as a three-bedroom hotel suite, the Astor was layered in crystal and gold and with brocade in pink, cream and rose, with a dining room that seated 10 and a master bedroom that had a king-size canopy bed.

There were three nonworking fireplaces and a bathroom with ornamental columns, gold fixtures, a swan-shaped faucet and murals of a little angel floating in a blue and white sky.

Jürgen Friedrich, the founder of the European operations of Esprit, the clothing company, wanted to buy the Astor Suite so much that, according to people who were briefed on the deal, he was the first person to sign a contract at the Plaza, in December 2005. Last week, he closed on the purchase of the Astor Suite, along with an adjacent one-bedroom apartment, totaling more than 5,000 square feet of space, for around $27 million.

“It was luxury, luxury, luxury at its best,” said Patricia Burnham, Mr. Friedrich’s broker, who would not discuss the details of the transaction. “It was the largest unit in the most famous landmark in the world.”

Alas, since Mr. Friedrich signed the contract, other buyers have combined other smaller units to create larger and more expensive residences.

Harry Macklowe (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/harry_macklowe/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the developer, created an apartment by combining seven units costing almost $60 million.

Lloyd Kaplan, a spokesman for the Plaza’s owner, Elad Properties, said that while the parts of the Plaza designated as a landmark were preserved, the hotel rooms upstairs were completely renovated and “are new.” But, according to someone briefed on the deal, Mr. Friedrich had arranged to preserve some of the original detail in the Astor Suite.

The exact provenance of the Astor Suite is hard to discern. The first mention of an Astor Suite at the Plaza appears in The New York Times, not in 1907 when the hotel was built, but in the 1990s a few years after Donald Trump (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/t/donald_j_trump/index.html?inline=nyt-per) bought the hotel in 1988 and renovated it.

Curtis Gathje, the editor of the Zagat (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/z/zagat_survey/index.html?inline=nyt-org) guide of New York, and the author of “At the Plaza: An Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Hotel” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), said the Astor Suite was created under the supervision of Ivana Trump (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/t/ivana_trump/index.html?inline=nyt-per), Mr. Trump’s former wife, in 1989.

Before then, he said, the space was known as the presidential suite. He noted, too, that while members of the Astor family had some association with the Plaza, the Astors had developed competing hotels, including the St. Regis and the Waldorf-Astoria.

On the other hand, he said, at the turn of the last century, when elevators were still new, the best and most-sought-after rooms — those with the highest ceilings and most luxurious finishings — were on the lower floors, like the fifth-floor Astor Suite. The rooms at the roof level were relegated for use by staff members and lower-paying guests.

Copyright The New York Times.

The Benniest
December 2nd, 2007, 02:52 PM
Oh wow! Nice picture lofter. What all have the done to the Plaza? Anyone know how much they have spent on it? I saw in one post it was sold for over $600 million but I don't know if that has anything to do with it.


January 25th, 2008, 06:38 AM
Plaza's Grand Ballroom Officially Re-Opens

by Tom Acitelli (http://www.observer.com/node/36094) | January 24, 2008

Chevall via flickr.com.

We got a press release trumpeting the official reopening of The Plaza's Grand Ballroom. It's been "meticulously restored to its 1929 opulence," and had a soft opening last week as the site of a party for Chanel Fine Jewelry.

I got a sneak peak at the Ballroom last month, when it was still undergoing the renovations. Elizabeth Stribling, whose firm markets The Plaza condos, told me (http://www.observer.com/2007/elizabeth-plaza) that the ceiling, in particular, would be restored. Apparently, that hadn't been done since Conrad Hilton owned the place in the middle of the last century.

A lot of famous folks have passed through--and out in-- the Ballroom, of course, including attendees of Truman Capote's 1966 "Black and White Ball" and Mick Jagger's 1993 50th birthday party.

Copyright 2008 The New York Observer

March 1st, 2008, 07:39 AM
NYC's grand old Plaza returns with a flourish



http://i.usatoday.net/travel/_photos/2008/02/29/plazax-large.jpgBy Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY http://i.usatoday.net/_common/_images/clear.gif
At your fingertips: Plaza general manager Shane Krige demonstrates an in-room touch panel that controls heat and lights and calls for a butler.

http://images.usatoday.com/_common/_images/clear.gifhttp://images.usatoday.com/_common/_images/clear.gifIT'S A SCREEN GEM, TOOhttp://images.usatoday.com/_common/_images/clear.gifThe Plaza has played a role in numerous Hollywood films, including:
North by Northwest (1959)
Plaza Suite (1971)
The Great Gatsby (1974)
Arthur (1981)
Crocodile Dundee (1986)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Almost Famous (2000)
Perhaps The Plaza's most poignant on-screen moment is the final scene of 1973's The Way We Were, when mismatched ex-lovers Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford have a bittersweet chance meeting outside the hotel.

http://images.usatoday.com/travel/_photos/2008/02/29/plaza-insidex-large.jpgBy Robert Deutsch, USA TODAYhttp://images.usatoday.com/_common/_images/clear.gif
Tea service at the Palm Court served by Federico Rosas.

By Kitty Bean Yancey (http://www.usatoday.com/community/tags/reporter.aspx?id=370), USA TODAY

NEW YORK — If the fictional 6-year-old Eloise checked into The Plaza today, she'd enter her suite simply by waving a keycard above the doorknob. Once inside, she'd illuminate the crystal chandelier, set the temperature or order a butler to fetch a pot of tea by touching a computer-like screen on the wall.

Change has been brewing at The Plaza, which reopens Saturday after a two-year, $400 million lobby-to-rooftop renovation. Generations of tourists who have stayed at the imposing Beaux-Arts edifice on Fifth Avenue or nibbled scones in the Palm Court have been waiting to see what the new owners — New York-based Elad Group and Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holdings — have wrought.

"This hotel means so much to so many people," general manager Shane Krige says. "It's an icon."

Indeed, the century-old Plaza, once run by Ivana Trump and now managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, is much more than a hotel. It's the setting for Neil Simon's play Plaza Suite. It's where The Beatles stayed on their 1964 U.S. tour. It's the site of A-list soirees and celebrity wedding receptions. And it's a National Historic Landmark too. The new incarnation — originally mostly condos until hotel unions and history buffs put up a fight — includes 282 hotel accommodations (102 are suites) vs. the old 805, Krige says. Nearly half are condo/hotel units, owned by people who lock up belongings when not in residence. Another 180 units are purely residential and sold at prices in the $4,000- to $6,000-per-square-foot range, Krige says. (Sadly, they tend to have the better views of Central Park.) Rates for hotel rooms start at $775 a night, nearly $900 with taxes (reservations: 888-240-7775 or theplaza.com). About 80 hotel rooms now are ready for guests.

The downsizing allows a new level of "personalized service," says South Africa-born Krige (pronounced "Kreeg"), 39, who has speedily ascended in the hotel world. He used to be managing director of the chi-chi Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas.

He's blending the Old World and the new. Service is personified by a butler on each floor, who'll greet guests, press clothes, draw baths.

Daily afternoon tea in the marble-pillared Palm Court still will be a ritual, even more elaborate under the supervision of hotel chef Didier Virot, who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants including Manhattan's Jean Georges.

Four courses (including crustless cucumber sandwiches with mint butter, scones, pink éclairs, berries and a selection of 22 loose-leaf teas and herbal infusions) start at $60. Virot's tasting-menu tea, with caviar and tidbits such as melt-in-your-mouth lobster salad with tarragon-tomato compote, soars to $120 with a glass of Champagne.

The Palm Court has been spiffed up with high-backed ice-blue velvety chairs, royal blue and gold china and Christofle silverware. A star attraction: its new stained-glass domed ceiling featuring entwined roses — a replica of the one hotelier Conrad Hilton had taken down in the '40s to make way for bulky air-conditioning equipment.

A new marble lobby off the Fifth Avenue entrance boasts five large Baccarat chandeliers, a Champagne bar and mezzanine Rose Club cocktail lounge. The Grand Ballroom, site of society functions including Truman Capote's celebrity-packed 1966 Black & White Ball, has been restored. The venerable Oak Room bar/restaurant is due to open this spring; the Edwardian Room restaurant will be replaced by retail space. The hotel will include expanded shopping, plus a Caudalie spa from France (famed for "vinotherapy" using grape-seed extracts) and a fitness facility headlined by celebrity trainer Radu.

Krige, an energetic man with a shaved head who's wearing a pinstriped suit and jaunty red pocket handkerchief, aims to attract young travelers as well as older Plaza devotees. Though rooms retain their flashy 24-karat gold-plated sink fixtures and Louis XV-style furnishing, the colors (olive, gold, cream) and décor are more refined, modern and muted than in the past.

Technophiles will be pleased, save for the fact that free Wi-Fi touted in hotel press releases won't be free after all. "It was a difficult, last-minute decision," Krige says. "All our competitors set a charge."

Showing a room, Krige demonstrates how guests get in by whisking a keycard past a panel on the door. Inside, everything from temperature to lights can be controlled by touching a screen on the wall that also can call the butler, display headlines and weather or be slipped from its holder to serve as a remote control for the TV.

Krige is primed to compete with Manhattan rivals including the Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and The St. Regis. He says none has the Plaza pedigree.

"Our biggest problem is going to be 50,000 (gawkers) going through the lobby." Employees have remained so loyal that three-quarters of current Plaza staffers are returnees, he says.

"It's maintained this high-class reputation for 100 years — that's hard to do," says Curtis Gathje (pronounced "GAY-gee"), author of At the Plaza. He worked there in the '80s and '90s as desk clerk, room-service waiter and director of guest relations.

He recently toured the hotel and pronounces the renovation "an incredible job. Prior to its redo, it wasn't that spiffy a place." Furnishings were worn, he says, and rooms didn't have central air conditioning.

"I think what's happened is the best thing that could happen to it," he says. "It's not meant to be frozen in aspic."

Copyright 2008 USA TODAY.

March 26th, 2008, 10:12 AM
Plaza Hotel, Once a Legend, Goes to Rehab, Loses `Eloise' Charm

Review by James S. Russell
http://images.bloomberg.com/r06/news/enlarge_details.gif (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=photos&sid=aC9Pxq9VmjUA)

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- With a $400 million overhaul added to the $675 million purchase price, Miki Naftali (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Miki+Naftali&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) and Elad Properties (http://www.eladproperties.com/) have more than $1 billion riding on the rebuilt Plaza Hotel.
The historic exterior and grand public rooms have been impeccably restored, yet the New York icon feels embalmed rather than enlivened. Reopened on March 1, Naftali has positioned the hotel in the ``six-star'' luxury stratosphere as he prepares an 11.5-million-square-foot brand extension into Las Vegas.
Designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in 1907, the Plaza's restored chateau-on-steroids exterior retains its unabashed opulence. The hotel never traded on elegance but on a marble- slabbed, heavy draped, chest-thumping masculine splendor.
Still, the plaza is a legend as well as a building: Russian Princess Vilma Lwoff-Parlaghy with her lion cub, F. Scott Fitzgerald (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=F.+Scott%0AFitzgerald&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1)'s dunk in the Pulitzer fountain, a pioneering wardrobe malfunction by Marilyn Monroe (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Marilyn+Monroe&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), Kay Thompson's venerable ``Eloise.''
Legend or no, the place was a wreck, Elad President Naftali said in an interview. To underwrite the top-to-bottom overhaul the much-remodeled pile has never had, he rebuilt rooms facing Central Park and Fifth Avenue into 182 condominiums, rapidly selling them out, with one price topping $50 million.
The hotel has shrunk to 130 rooms on the West 58th Street side and 152 larger ``hotel residences'' (formerly known as time shares) stacked on top. Because of the condos, only a few hotel rooms get partial Central Park views.
Stained-Glass Ceiling
Restoration architect Walter B. Melvin has gorgeously recreated the l,200-square-foot stained-glass ceiling in the Palm Court. Called a laylight, the original was destroyed by Conrad Hilton (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Conrad+Hilton&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) in 1944 in favor of a solid ceiling and air conditioning. The laylight still doesn't open to the sky, but an automated lighting system impressively suggests the passing of the day.
Restoration of the Edwardian Room, with its wrought timber ceiling beams, and the Terrace Room, with its Renaissance-style vaults near completion while Naftali seeks super-luxe retailers willing to live within the building's landmarked splendor.
I hoped architect and designer Gal Nauer (http://www.gnarchitect.com/) would bring a sexy new glamour to an added lobby and the gutted and rebuilt rooms. Regrettably, she mixes a stiff formality with Walt Disney whimsy.
Grand New Lobby
She reclaimed a forgotten space south of the Fifth Avenue entrance for a grandly scaled, crystal-chandeliered new hotel lobby. (The old one on 59th Street is reserved for condo owners.) She crowds a showroom's worth of velvet-and-gilt furniture into the edges of the room, leaving a ballroom-size swath of gold-trimmed marble floor to frame a floral medallion that looks like a Rorschach blot.
She furnishes the Palm Court with throne-like powder-blue chairs so heavy they give waiters a workout. It doesn't get better at the Rose Bar, a luridly upholstered, low-ceilinged lounge accessed by a grand stair that appears to have collided with a column.
She's tucked a fussy, multilevel mini-mall into the 58th Street side, presided over by an undernourished chandelier. Come May, it will be home to a Caudalie (http://www.sephora.com/) spa and a food hall modeled on Harrods, with Plaza-branded delicacies and souvenirs.
Reproduction formality rules the guest rooms, where delicate, gold-trimmed side tables and curlicued headboards look stranded against stark white walls. The grand baths with carved marble pedestal sinks and 24-carat gold faucets come with an amateurishly drawn flower stem by Nauer worked into the tile.
No Surprises
This kind of luxury will comfort those who don't want surprises -- or character -- in their hotel visit. With room rates starting about $1,000 per night, Fairmont (http://www.fairmont.com/), the hotel operator, promises a highly personalized guest experience. A white-gloved butler presides over each floor, ready with a cup of coffee or a reservation at the Palm Court or Oak Room (opening in May).
Nauer's second-rate traditionalism can't kill the Plaza, it just makes creating a distinct new personality more of a challenge.
I'm not sure that's Naftali's goal, though. Up next is the Plaza Las Vegas, a casino resort with six towers crowned by Plaza-like mansard roofs and themed with ``Eloise.'' Did Naftali and his team rebuild the Plaza so painstakingly to create new legends or milk old ones?
(James S. Russell (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=James+S.+Russell&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) is Bloomberg's U.S. architecture critic. The opinions expressed are his own.)

I visited the hotel and agree totally. It has lost the charm and accessibility. It looks vulgar and ostentatious. And practically empty.. I was reading about the renovation and saw a list of some of the condo owners--so many of them have had problems, it seems like the hotel is cursed--Cayne (Bear, Sterns), Macklowe, Kraft (lost the Super Bowl). I knew it would never be the same after the renovation, but I never thought it would be this bad...

March 26th, 2008, 10:44 AM
Just judging from those photos: the top pic is truly awful with everything looking disjointed, floating around. Ugly, vulgar taste. Take everything down a few notches and it's the Milford Plaza.

The guest rooms look nice though: old-lady elegant and very right. The white walls look like they work.


March 28th, 2008, 08:51 PM
From the large windows you can see that the legendary Oak Bar has been completely stripped of its oak walls and murals down to white walls. I don't see how it can be restored to the way it was by its May opening date. If the Oak Bar as it was is now gone forever, then this City has suffered a calamity at the hands of Elad.

The Benniest
March 29th, 2008, 01:59 AM
Can tourists get into the Plaza to take pictures of the things like the lobby? I continued to stand across the street at the Apple Store (on 5th Ave.), debating on whether I should just "mozzee" on by the doorman and into the lobby.

March 29th, 2008, 03:39 AM
^Absolutely. It's still a hotel and they have a bunch of public shops opening this spring on "the Concourse." And after you're done go to the 35th floor lobby of the Mandarin Oriental for a drink at the bar and check out some great views.

March 29th, 2008, 05:09 AM
I am gutted we never went in the plaza, we went past so many times, could have go in for a drink on Valentines day after my rid around Central Park!

love the film North by Northwest, and love Cary Grant, never mind I will go on my next visit :)

The Benniest
March 29th, 2008, 05:11 PM
^Absolutely. It's still a hotel and they have a bunch of public shops opening this spring on "the Concourse." And after you're done go to the 35th floor lobby of the Mandarin Oriental for a drink at the bar and check out some great views.

Now I regret not even trying. Although, I happened to get a picture of both of the doorman on the south side entrance to the Plaza (i think the south), which I will post later.

The Benniest
March 29th, 2008, 09:32 PM

Last day in NY + camera = fun time :p

March 29th, 2008, 11:19 PM
I prefer the longer coat.

The Benniest
March 30th, 2008, 12:32 AM
Heh. Yes, and you'd think it'd be warmer. ;)

It was funny because when I asked them to stand by each other, I got: "What?! You want me to stand by him?" and "Well...if I really have too."


May 18th, 2008, 06:27 AM
Big Deal

Lost in the Big City

By JOSH BARBANEL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/josh_barbanel/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: May 18, 2008

IT takes all kinds of people to turn a cold building of marble and brick, even a famous one, into a community.

Plaza Hotel residences

In the case of the Plaza Hotel residences on Grand Army Plaza and Central Park, it takes all kinds of rich people: a Saudi prince, an Israeli billionaire, Russian oligarchs, American tycoons, real estate moguls, and even an occasional rich felon and his family, perhaps looking to lose themselves in the anonymity of the big city.

Last month, a limited liability corporation, Sanidejo L.L.C., bought a large 19th-floor apartment at the Plaza for $15.2 million in cash. The unit has four bedrooms, four baths and 3,700 square feet of space with park views to the north.

But the address listed by the corporation in title documents in St. Louis Park, Minn., a suburb west of Minneapolis, was a six-bedroom home that the federal government had moved in to seize only a few weeks earlier in forfeiture proceedings in Federal District Court in Minneapolis.

The house (at 5,700 square feet, quite a bit larger than the Plaza apartment) is owned by Michael R. Afremov, a Russian-born engineer, who made a fortune in medical devices, and his wife, Lorie. Mr. Afremov was paid $275 million in 2005 to sell his interest in the AGA Medical Corporation after a protracted court battle for control of the company. AGA developed devices that allow doctors to treat some heart defects without open heart surgery.

The contract to buy the Plaza apartment was signed in early March, according to property records. That was just a few weeks before Mr. Afremov pleaded guilty in federal court in Minneapolis to filing false tax returns in connection with a scheme in which he received kickbacks from a supplier for AGA Medical through a corporation he owned. Ms. Afremov signed the sales documents. Neither Mr. Afremov nor his lawyers returned several phone calls for comment.

Mr. Afremov has not yet been sentenced, but he faces up to 37 months in federal prison and a fine of $1 million, as well as the property forfeiture.
The court case grew out of evidence compiled during the bitter fight over control of the medical device company, which employs 250 workers in Minnesota. Mr. Afremov apparently filed accurate personal and corporate tax returns, but later amended them to hide the kickback payments from his former partner at AGA.

Mr. Afremov is president of another medical device company, Minnesota Medical Development, which produces devices for hernia repair, and has founded two other medical device businesses.

In his plea agreement, Mr. Afremov agreed to cooperate with the government in an investigation into lawyers and accountants who assisted him in his tax scheme, which may reduce his sentence, or even keep him out of prison. Court filings show he and his wife agreed to pay $1.9 million instead of forfeiting their home in suburban Minneapolis.

E-mail: bigdeal@nytimes.com


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 9th, 2008, 06:49 AM
Russian tycoon says nyet to $53 million Plaza Hotel digs

Tuesday, September 9th 2008, 4:00 AM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2008/09/09/amd_plaza-hotel.jpg Savulich/News
Andrey Vavilov Andrey Vavilov is upset with El-Ad Properties for getting him involved with anything but swell digs.

He expected $53.5 million of penthouse perfection at The Plaza and instead got a dump - or at least what passes for one in the mind of a Russian tycoon bummed out by his supposedly swell digs.

So Andrey Vavilov (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Andrey+Vavilov) is handling his mess the American way, with a lawsuit demanding The Plaza's developers return his $10.7 million deposit and then toss in another $20 million in damages for the "classic bait and switch."

Vavilov accuses El-Ad Properties (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Elad+Properties+LLC) of snowing him into buying two penthouses sight unseen and delivering a finished product with scaled-back square footage, lower-than-expected ceilings and a "hideous drainage grate" that blocks the views.

"The penthouses were represented by El-Ad as the epitome of luxury living at the world's most prestigious address," the suit says. "El-Ad represented the private residences as oases of 'endless possibilities' and 'timeless elegance' with 'superb views.'"

Instead, the buyer was "shocked" to discover that the penthouse was not right out of "Eloise," "where the rooms at the Plaza Hotel (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Plaza+Hotel) embodied the height of elegance and sophistication."

The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Manhattan+Supreme+Court), never identifies Vavilov - a former Russian government official who survived an assassination attempt - as the buyer, but sources confirmed that he is the unhappy would-be owner of penthouses 2009 and 2011.

Vavilov agreed to buy the units last February after seeing an interactive model that showed off the penthouse's floor-to-ceiling windows and reflected its "high ceilings and grand views."

The sight-unseen approach, the suit charges, was a tactic to jack up prices.

Nonsense, El-Ad fired back.

"The apartments as delivered are the apartments as described on the plans he reviewed and the contract he signed," said Jay Neveloff (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jay+Neveloff), a lawyer for El-Ad. "Because the purchaser has, for some reason, changed his mind and decided not to close does not alter the facts."

El-Ad closed The Plaza in 2004 before embarking on a massive renovation to reopen the landmark at Fifth Ave. and Central Park (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Central+Park) South as a "six-star" hotel with 180 prime private residences that sell for millions of dollars.

"The Plaza is all but sold out," Neveloff said.

Vavilov, 47, wants no part of it - and, according to the suit, he's especially unhappy with the views from the penthouse windows.

"These windows in the completed penthouses make the space more closely resemble an attic than a luxury penthouse living room," the suit says.

jmartinez@edit.nydailynews.com (jmartinez@edit.nydailynews.com)


© Copyright 2008 NYDailyNews.com.

September 9th, 2008, 11:43 AM
Subcontractor claims Plaza Hotel owes $3.7 million
By Adam Pincus

A Long Island contractor claims in a lawsuit that the Plaza Hotel developers, Tishman Construction and others failed to pay $3.71 million for work done at the newly-restored building.

S.W. Sims, a West Babylon heating and air conditioning firm, filed a complaint in New York State Supreme Court on August 22.

The Plaza Hotel, at 768 Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, reopened this spring after a $400 million renovation that converted the 100-year old hotel into a hotel-condominium. Sims was a subcontractor in that project.

The suit names Tishman Construction, Plaza Residential Owner LP and 10 other defendants, as well as five unnamed defendants. Several of the defendants are individual owners of residential apartments in the building, including the former CEO of Bear Stearns, James Cayne.

Elad Properties, the developer of the Plaza Hotel, controls Plaza Residential Owner LP. Tishman Construction was the construction manager for the project.

Victor Sigoura, vice president of development for Elad Properties, said in a statement Sims had not adhered to the agreement it signed.

"We have contracts with F.W. Sims and yet, instead of abiding by the terms of those contracts, F.W. Sims has improperly walked off the job and brought their outlandish claims in court," he said. "F.W. Sims is in breach of their agreements with us and we intend to hold them liable for all damages arising from their baseless conduct. We are confident that we will ultimately prevail."

Sims said it had agreed to a main contract for a lump sum fee with the contractors and developers, but that it was asked to perform additional work leading to additional expenses.

"Repeated requests for changes to Sims' work and/or ... maladministration of the main contract," disrupted their work, the filing said.

Sims attorney Joseph Asselta said the company still had some work he described as minor to complete, but that it was waiting for information from the developer.

An official with Tishman declined to comment.


September 10th, 2008, 04:01 PM

BITTER SUITE: Joanna Cutler holds the Fabergé egg left behind in her Plaza apartment after getting locked in a trash room for seven hours when a floorboard jammed the door shut.
February 28, 2008

It would only take a second, thought Joanna Cutler. Throw out the trash and pop back into her 14th-floor apartment at The Plaza hotel.

But while she was in the garbage room, the door closed automatically - and then jammed.

And so began the top Manhattan real estate broker's night of horror at The Plaza, a seven-hour ordeal in which Cutler says she:

* Bloodied her hands beating on the door and cut her fingers to shreds trying to claw her way out.

* Screamed at the top of her lungs for hours to no avail.

* Broke down and wept believing that rescue from her dank hell was hopeless and fearing that someone would rob her apartment, whose door she had left open.

"I realized I wasn't getting out. That's when I started crying. Weird thoughts were going through my mind . . . like if there's a fire, I'd burn to a crisp," Cutler told The Post.

"I kept asking: 'Who's going to find me? Why won't anyone check up on me?' I can live through anything if I know there's an end in sight, but I was beginning to think there wasn't."

Cutler's ordeal ended at 6 a.m. last Thursday when a building worker starting his shift heard her screams and pried the door open.

Her lawyer, Susan Karten, said a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of particle board laid down to protect hallway rugs had been improperly taped down, causing it to shift and jam against the door.

In a letter yesterday, Karten put the owners of The Plaza, Elad Properties, on notice that Cutler - whose clients have included Mariska Hargitay, Naomi Campbell and Jennifer Aniston - might sue, saying, "We intend to hold you responsible for all damages that flow from this incident."

Lloyd Kaplan, an Elad spokesman said, "We sincerely regret the discomfort Ms. Cutler experienced. As soon as we were notified of the incident, we inspected all common area doors to make certain they are in proper working order."

The top broker's night of horror began at 11 p.m. on Feb. 20.

Wearing socks, thin lounge pants and a short-sleeved polo shirt, she planned a quick visit to the garbage room - just 10 feet from her apartment.

She left the door open - with her Fabergé egg and other valuables inside.

"I never imagined anything like this would happen to me. I just wanted to pop out a second and go back inside to bed," she said.

When she was dumping her small bag of garbage in a can at the rear of the elevator-sized room, the door shut.

"I went to leave, but it wouldn't open," Cutler recalled.

"I began shoving and pushing, but it wouldn't budge. Then I started using my feet on the door, then banged with my hands, my back and my butt.

"I kept trying to free up whatever was jamming the door with the tips of my fingers. I was trying to slip them underneath the door, but something sharp cut them," she said.

"After an hour, I knew there was no hope so I started screaming at the top of my lungs."

But no one was there to hear her.

Couples from San Francisco and New Zealand live on her floor, but they were out of town.

"It was freezing and I kept shivering," she said. "The tile floor felt like ice and was too cold to sit on. I had to stand up the whole time."


September 11th, 2008, 12:00 AM
She's lucky they don't have rats and roaches in the Plaza.

September 12th, 2008, 12:31 AM
She definitely looks like a woman who would sue, yes.

September 27th, 2008, 07:08 AM
Big Deal

(Too) Storied Hotel?

By JOSH BARBANEL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/josh_barbanel/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: September 26, 2008

HOLD your ears, Eloise!

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/plaza_hotel/index.html?inline=nyt-org) has gotten so much publicity lately, with dueling lawsuits between a Russian oligarch and the condominium sponsors, and every deliciously expensive sale blogged around the world, that some buyers have been scared away.

Guy Wildenstein, the president of the Wildenstein Galleries and the owner of a large private art collection, signed a contract in 2006 to buy five apartments at the Plaza, including what was once the Frank Lloyd Wright (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/frank_lloyd_wright/index.html?inline=nyt-per) suite on the fourth floor. That apartment has three marble fireplaces and soaring windows overlooking Fifth Avenue and Central Park.

Mr. Wildenstein planned to create a duplex large enough for his extended family on two floors with nearly 12,000 square feet of space. He even paid $2 million extra for an enhanced air-conditioning and humidity-control system, along with special lighting to display some of his collections of old master and Impressionist art. The total price for the apartments was $49.2 million, according to city property records.

But now Mr. Wildenstein has sold one two-bedroom on the fifth floor, and he has another 2,520-square-foot two-bedroom on the fifth floor listed for sale for $10 million.

Last month, he closed on the purchase of the three apartments on the fourth floor, including the Frank Lloyd Wright suite, and late last week put them back on the market for $46.5 million with Carrie Chiang and Loy Carlos of the Corcoran Group.

Ms. Chiang said the family envisioned a private wing where they could live quietly, but instead were put off by the “fishbowl atmosphere” at the Plaza where the comings and goings of buyers are widely chronicled.

The storied hotel garnered more public attention this month when Andrei Vavilov, a financier and a deputy finance minister of Russia from 1992 to 1997, accused the sponsors of a “classic bait and switch” in a lawsuit in which he sought to recover a $10 million deposit on a $53.5 million duplex penthouse. The lawsuit said the apartment didn’t measure up to the space and level of luxuriousness promised, and in turn the developer, El-Ad Properties, sued Mr. Vavilov for defamation.

Last fall, Mr. Wildenstein went into contract to sell the family’s 29-foot-wide town house at 11 East 64th Street, three doors away from the Wildenstein New York gallery, for $42.5 million. The town house was owned by Mr. Wildenstein’s father, Daniel, who died in 2001. Guy Wildenstein and his family lived there for years, along with his brother, Alec, and his wife, Jocelyne, until they went through a very public divorce years ago. Alec died earlier this year.

After giving up on the Plaza, Mr. Wildenstein has decided to look for another town house where he can preserve his privacy and have grand spaces, Ms. Chiang said.

The fourth-floor suite is not the most expensive place for sale at the Plaza. Tommy Hilfiger (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/tommy_hilfiger/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the fashion designer, bought a duplex on the 18th floor and put it back on the market in early September for $50 million, twice what he had paid for it, or about $8,800 a square foot. Two weeks later, an eight-room apartment that includes the Plaza Hotel’s elegant Astor Suite went on the market for $55 million, or about $12,800 a square foot.

In contrast, the three Wildenstein apartments on the fourth floor, with more than 8,000 square feet, are being offered at $5,800 a square foot.

E-mail: bigdeal@nytimes.com


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 7th, 2008, 04:59 AM
Jury Clears Way for New York Plaza in Las Vegas

Published: October 6, 2008

LAS VEGAS — A jury ruled Monday that the owners of the famed Plaza Hotel (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/plaza_hotel/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in New York can use the Plaza name on a proposed $5 billion resort-casino on the Las Vegas Strip, despite the existence nearby of another Plaza Hotel and Casino.

The decision left the Tamares Group, which owns the low-budget 37-year-old Plaza here, uncertain as to its next move. “We’re disappointed, we’re studying our options, and, candidly, we’re somewhat stunned and in disbelief,” said Harry Braunstein, a lawyer for Tamares, a Liechtenstein company that owns three other casinos in the older cluster of hotels in the downtown area.

In the three-week trial, lawyers for the El-Ad Group, an Israeli company that owns the Plaza Hotel in New York, said the Tamares property had gone by several names, including the Union Plaza and Jackie Gaughan’s Plaza Downtown. The jury agreed that the existing Plaza had not adequately protected its trademark.

El-Ad bought 36 acres on the Las Vegas Strip last year for a record $33 million an acre and plans to build a $5 billion, seven-tower, 6,700-unit hotel-casino version of the Plaza in New York.

The company announced this year that it would delay construction at least until 2010 because of financing difficulties. A press release issued Monday said the resort would open in 2012.

“Our victory is based on the abiding strength of the Plaza brand, and we are very pleased by the jury’s decision affirming our rights,” Miki Naftali, president of El-Ad, said in a statement. “Our rights date back more than 100 years; there is certainly no confusion about the highest standards of luxury and elegance we represent.”


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 21st, 2008, 05:15 AM
Last updated: October 17, 2008 01:28pm

El-Ad Completes $260M Plaza Hotel Refit

By Natalie Dolce (http://www.globest.com/cgi-bin/udt/im.author.contact.view?client_id=globest&story_id=174583&title=El%2DAd%20Completes%20%24260M%20Plaza%20Hote l%20Refi&author=Natalie%20Dolce&address=http%3A//www.globest.com/news/1268%5F1268/newyork/174583%2D1.html&summary=NEW%20YORK%20CITY%2DThe%20financing%20will %20be%20used%20to%20convert%20the%20hotel%27s%20co nstruction%20loan%20into%20a%20long%2Dterm%2C%20pe rmanent%20mortgage%20for%20the%20hotel.)

Plaza Hotel

NEW YORK CITY-El-Ad Group and Kingdom Holding, owners of the Plaza Hotel here, have completed a $260 million refinancing of the hotel portion of the fully restored 1907 landmark. The financing will be used to convert the hotel's construction loan into a long-term, permanent mortgage for the hotel.

The financing was provided by a consortium of banks headed by HSBC Bank USA, and includes a $40 million mezzanine loan provided by Transwestern Realty Finance Partners LLC. "We obviously faced strong head winds in this most challenging credit market of our times," says Miki Naftali, president and CEO of locally based El-Ad, in a prepared statement, "but the strength of El-Ad, the quality of the hotel, the success of the operation and the power of the Plaza brand prevailed."

The Plaza has 282 rooms and suites, including 152 hotel condominiums and 130 hotel rooms. The hotel is part of the nearly one-million-sf landmark purchased by El-Ad in 2004 for $675 million (http://www.globest.com/news/138_138/newyork/127611-1.html), as GlobeSt.com reported, from a partnership of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc and Kingdom Investments. Millennium & Copthorne had purchased the Plaza in 1995 for $325 million. The restoration cost more than $400 million.

El Ad Group and Kingdom Holding did not return GlobeSt.com queries by deadline for further information. Michael Girimonti, senior vice president of Transwestern Realty Finance Partners' New York City office, who arranged the mezzanine transaction for Transwestern, says in a prepared statement that "we are pleased to have financed such a high quality investment in this environment in terms of the trophy caliber of the asset, superb location and its financial characteristics." Transwestern managing director Thomas McCahill adds that the firm's focus now more than ever is to focus on "top quality, high performing assets in major markets, supported by experienced, well capitalized sponsors and this deal meets all those criteria."


Copyright 2008 ALM Properties, Inc.

October 24th, 2008, 06:08 PM
Crain's New York

October 24. 2008 3:41PM
Plaza keeps looking for right formula for Palm Court

The famous restaurant has been making changes since it reopened; new chairs were replaced and dinner service was dropped.


Lisa Fickenscher (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/personalia?ID=10)

As the Plaza Hotel puts the finishing touches on a $400 million renovation, it seems that management keeps changing its plans for the Palm Court off the lobby.

The restaurant reopened less than a year ago, but since that time, everything from the famous restaurant’s menu to its furniture has been changed.

This month, hotel management replaced the bulky dining room chairs with much smaller ones. In August, management stopped offering dinner service in the Palm Court, most famous for its high teas.

The hotel’s general manager, Shane Krige, said in a statement that “new menu concepts and designs for the extraordinary Palm Court space” are being explored.

Some of the changes were precipitated by complaints from patrons. The heavy wingback chairs with high backs that were recently replaced were a big problem. Diners complained that they couldn’t move them and once they were seated, the side panels prevented them seeing anyone else in the room.

Even New York Post gossip columnist, Cindy Adams, complained in a column about the chairs with “sky-high backs.”

The new chairs have low backs. Earlier in the year, when complaints were rolling in, Mr. Krige said “some of our guests relish the privacy of our high-back chairs, while others prefer lower-backed chairs in order to be seen.”

© 2008 Crain Communications, Inc.

December 2nd, 2008, 02:52 PM
"Eloise sheds a tear"


December 2nd, 2008, 08:44 PM
Greed and Stupidity and just plain Low-Class Behavior.

The lawyers will get filthy rich.

Some highhlights of the article from CURBED (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/12/02/vanity_fairs_plaza_expos_cheap_tactics_cheaper_mat erials.php):

Vanity Fair's Plaza Exposé:
Cheap Tactics, Cheaper Materials

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
by Joey

[Photo: Todd Eberle/Vanity Fair]

The private residences carved out of The Plaza promised unbridled luxury
and sophistication, sold out fairly quickly, and have been plagued by
complaints and lawsuits (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/09/18/penthosed_now_the_plazas_developer_is_suing.php) ever since. It's all slightly reminiscent of the
situation a few years back at Richard Meier's Perry Street towers (though
in a beloved landmark), and just like (http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2004/06/meier200406) those West Village glass boxes, the
whole affair now has its own seminal Vanity Fair piece chronicling the
mess. In the January issue of the mag (dropping tomorrow but online now (http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009/01/plaza200901?currentPage=1))
writer Evgenia Peretz describes The Plaza as "a place where fiberglass
moldings and other standard materials are passed off as 'true
opulence,' a place where one resident got stuck overnight (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/02/28/lonely_plaza_hotel_now_proven_to_be_harmful_perhap s_deadly.php) in a garbage
room, with no one to hear her cries." Then the real fun begins:

According to an inside source with knowledge of the materials
used in the hotel rooms, instead of Italian marble for the
bathroom floors and walls, El-Ad used low-density marble
from China (about 50 cents a square foot). The crown
moldings in the rooms aren't actually wood or plaster; they're
fiberglass and run from $2 to $7 a foot. (High-end crown
molding can cost $70 a foot, and real plaster molding many
multiples of that.) The so-called mahogany closet is in fact
just a thin layer of mahogany veneer over industrial
particleboard. "The developer was looking for ways to
save," admits a designer with Gal Nauer Architects.
Chinese marble, fiberglass, particle board: THE HORROR. The story also
gets into the somewhat unscrupulous ways the developer tried to lure
retailers into the Plaza's new mall (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/11/07/the_plaza_invites_everyone_to_shop_til_they_drop.p hp). That sound you here? Daniel Libeskind
slowly backing away from Elad's 1 Madison Avenue (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/12/02/libeskinds_madison_ave_tower_revealed_its_a_hover_ tube.php) project. Happy reading!

· Eloise Sheds a Tear (http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009/01/plaza200901?currentPage=1) [Vanity Fair]
· The Plaza coverage (http://curbed.com/tags/the-plaza) [Curbed]

And a comment from an interested party ...

I'm an interior designer who has a small practice in CT and
was hired to finish off a small one bedroom pied-a-terre for a
client. When i went to view the apartment, i was totally
speechless. This article doesn't do the building justice - its
complete crap. And to top it off, I heard footsteps from
people in the living room upstairs. I've worked in quite a few
vintage luxury buildings on park avenue and i have never
heard people walking around upstairs. The owner was
practically in tears when she began realizing what she had
bought. We're in the process of removing the ceiling to install
a noise suppression system, and will gut the bathroom
flooring, wall tiles and all the moldings in the entire apartment
and start over. Fiberglass doesn't cut it.
Uh-oh ...

December 9th, 2008, 05:29 AM
NY Times

For a Luxury Mall, an Ill-Timed Debut

Published: December 5, 2008

THE Plaza Retail Collection, a subterranean luxury mall beneath the elegant Plaza Hotel (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/plaza_hotel/index.html?inline=nyt-org), looks, as of now, rather like a diva without her makeup.


Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

The Plaza mall sells glossy goods but has had few visitors so far.

Newly opened but still unfinished, the mall is mostly below ground, its entrance, tucked away at 1 West 58th Street, set back from the prime retail spaces along Fifth Avenue. A sign at the foot of the escalator leading to the mall begs forgiveness for its appearance. The Anna Hu jewelry boutique is still under construction; the fish in the koi pond are rather small.

But with predictions that the holiday season will be one of the grimmest in recent years, particularly when it comes to the sale of luxury items, questions about the inopportune timing of the mall’s opening are probably inevitable, especially since the stores can’t be seen from the street.

“The project was well on its way before the economy started to turn,” said Anthony Nicola, general manager of the Retail Collection. “There’s no turning back. We’re going to push on, and we’ll be here when the economy improves.”

The boutiques have opened piecemeal since Oct. 22, one exclusive cocktail party at a time. According to Mr. Nicola, more than 90 percent of the retail space has been leased, and all the boutiques, as many as 35, are expected to be open by February.

But not quite yet.

“It was weird when I stopped by, because I wasn’t really sure how to get in,” said Leslie Price, the senior editor of Racked.com (http://racked.com/), a shopping blog that covers the city and has been keeping an eye on the new endeavor. “It felt like I was trespassing.”

Since the Plaza is a landmark, its elaborate facade is protected by law, and exterior advertising must be kept to a minimum.

There was also the question of which tenants would best suit the hotel.

“Being on Fifth Avenue, almost every great retailer was represented, so who do you bring to the Plaza?” said Mr. Nicola. His answer: international luxury. “We need tenants that are very ‘destinational,’ ” he said, meaning those whose reputation alone will summon a certain clientele.

“It has been just referral, and word of mouth,” said David Todd, senior art consultant at the Peter Lik gallery, which opened below ground late last month. “We have very loyal collectors.”

The gallery, one of the mall’s niche retailers, sells stunning landscape photographs. Caudalie Spa promotes the restorative power of grapes and includes a wine lounge and on-site sommelier. Qiviuk Boutique sells clothing made from the downy undercoat of the Canadian musk ox.

One recent morning, other than the bustle of those retailers at work, the mall seemed beautiful but barren. The floor, set with iridescent tiles, glistened from the light of crystal chandeliers.

Unlike the new tenants, Meyer Assoulin, the owner of Maurice Fine Jewelry, has operated in the hotel’s main lobby since 1991. Mr. Assoulin, whose business there is already well known, believes that the newcomers are a talented mix who face tough odds.

“The success or failure of the Plaza Retail Collection will be a function of the times,” he said, resting an elbow on a display case of diamonds, “and not of the Plaza.”

Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

December 9th, 2008, 06:18 AM
NY Post

Pimping Out the Plaza Hotel

For a century, the Plaza Hotel was the epitome of luxury—hosting events like Truman Capote's Black and White Ball and over-the-top holiday celebrations. But as developers turn the landmark space into condos, attract lawsuits and take the brand to Las Vegas, NYC society worries that the home of Eloise will be ruined forever.

By Annie Karni

Photo: Hechler Photography/ Rene Fan
The Grand Ballroom now and in April 2005 (inset).

The scene could be straight out of central casting's vision of the holiday season in New York: Fifteen little girls decked out in party dresses and Mary Janes are sprawled on a plush rug in the basement of the Plaza Hotel, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. They are taking a drawing lesson from Hilary Knight, illustrator of the Eloise book series—the classic children's stories about a 6-year-old girl who lives on the "tippy top" floor of the Plaza and gets into much mischief. The 82-year-old artist stands at an easel and demonstrates how to draw the signature red bow on top of his heroine's eternally disheveled hair. "Nothing ever changes as far as Eloise is concerned," says Hilary, who has been drawing her for more than 50 years. "Her spirit is always here, at her home."

But while the hotel's most famous fictional resident hasn't changed in appearance, her surroundings certainly have. Today the Plaza's shopping concourse houses retailers like Vertu, a luxury cell phone store where handsets range from $5,000 to $310,000, and Qiviuk, a shop that sells women's clothing made with fur from Arctic goats. High-end lingerie brand Marlies Dekkers also has an outpost here. When it comes down to it, Hilary's cute little drawing class is spending its weekend smack dab in the middle of a high-end mall.

When the Plaza Hotel reopened in March 2008 after three years and $400 million in renovations, the 805-room grande dame of the NYC hotel scene was as unrecognizable as an aging matron who Botoxed her way back to the tautness of a 25-year-old. The Beaux-Arts building, constructed in 1907 and overlooking Central Park from Fifth Avenue and Grand Army Plaza, had been converted into 182 private residences, 152 hotel condos (sold as part-time residences and part-time hotel rooms), 130 hotel rooms, 35 luxury stores, a gym, a spa, a champagne bar, a food court (still under construction) and a nightclub rigged with a $1 million sound system, to attract trendy patrons.

Photo: Courtesy Fairmont
The Plaza looms over Central Park South—and NYC history.

The developer, El-Ad Properties, is also scheming to transform the Plaza's legacy and 100-year-old stylized monogram—those grand double Ps that whisper elegance—into a global brand. "Our plan is to create ultra-luxury Plaza hotels in [international] cities," says Miki Naftali, president and CEO of El-Ad Properties, which purchased the hotel in 2004 for $675 million.

Even with a financial crisis halting development across the country, Miki says he's moving ahead with plans to build Plaza hotels in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Shanghai, Boston and Washington, D.C., over the next several years.

The location that raises the most eyebrows among New Yorkers is, of course, Vegas, where a multibillion-dollar Plaza Hotel residential/retail/hotel/gaming complex is scheduled to open in 2011. Some Manhattan developers say they doubt that the Sin City plans will come to fruition in the current economic climate. But the very idea of sullying an icon with Vegas' gaudiness has upper-crust New Yorkers accusing El-Ad of selling the soul of the institution. "They're taking the brand and trying to maximize it with no taste level," says Margaret Ternes, executive director of the Fund for Park Avenue. "A champagne bar has nothing to do with anything except making money. The developers have made fools of themselves with this fussing around."

Steven Gaines, author of The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan, says that "the hotel is a landmark, physically and spiritually.

What's next, Plaza dog food? It's an exploitation of the revered name."Is the Plaza Hotel the latest New York City icon to fall prey to the corporate soul-sucking that has devoured the punk club CBGB (currently a John Varvatos boutique) and the once-vaunted Rainbow Room (now little more than a banquet hall)? In addition to the outrage over Las Vegas, the Plaza is also mired in problems on the home front. Penthouse buyers are suing El-Ad for failing to deliver the lavish apartments they were promised.

Bloggers are buzzing that the Palm Court, the hotel's afternoon tea and lunch spot, is set to shutter "imminently." And the Plaza's private residence hallways are reportedly a ghost town, with many units on the market. So has the landmark hotel that represented NYC sophistication for over a century finally sold out?

Photo: Allan Grant//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images/ Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage/ Nicolas Khayat/ABACAUSA
From left: Among the Plaza's past owners are Conrad Hilton and Ivana and Donald Trump; Miki Naftali is the CEO of current owners El-Ad Properties.

In the not-so-distant past, the Plaza was venerated for its discreet elegance. "It was the mecca of social life in New York in the 1960s," recalls Catherine Saxton, a publicist who has worked with kings, presidents and heads ofstate, as well as celebrities. "I remember sitting in the Palm Court back in the 1970s, and I couldn't understand why people were staring at me. I turned around and there was Paul Newman behind me. That's what the Plaza meant to the city." In 1964, the Beatles stayed at the Plaza during their first visit to the States. Truman Capote hosted his famous Black and White Ball in the Grand Ballroom in the winter of 1966. President Richard Nixon's daughter Julie and Dwight David Eisenhower II had their wedding reception in the Grand Ballroom in 1968, and Catherine Zeta-Jones married Michael Douglas there in 2000. The Plaza's lore has also seeped into the realm of fiction. In the 1959 film North by Northwest, Cary Grant was kidnapped in the Oak Room. It's in a suite at the Plaza that the famous literary love triangle between Tom, Daisy and Jay Gatsby comes to a head in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Even little Eloise inhabits the rarified ranks of Cher and Madonna, famous enough to be identified by only one name.

Originally opened in 1907, the Plaza has been bought and sold more than half a dozen times. Conrad Hilton owned the hotel from 1943 to 1953. In 1988, real estate tycoon Donald Trump purchased the Plaza for $390 million, and he wrote in an advertisement in The New York Times that "for the first time in my life, I have knowingly made a deal that was not economic…I haven't purchased a building, I have purchased a masterpiece." He stood by his word—not even the Donald felt the need to totally pimp out the Plaza. The hotel changed hands again in 1995, when he sold it for $325 million to Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud and Millennium & Copthorne (after Trump filed for bankruptcy and lost $20 million to his wife Ivana in a divorce settlement, all in 1992, he was apparently forced to take a loss just to pay off his debts). Then in 2004, Miki scooped up the hotel, which wasn't even for sale, for more than double the price—and closed it for the first time ever, for a revamp.

According to the El-Ad CEO, change was long overdue.

"When I bought the hotel, 65 rooms were out of order," he says. "Water leaked in the Palm Court on a rainy day, and they put buckets under tables to collect the rain. On a cold day, there wasn't enough heat in guest rooms." He says that offering five-star service was impossible when operating 805 hotel rooms. But he's especially proud of the restoration of a skylight abovethe Palm Court that was replicated from a photo from the 1940s. The Oak Room will look like new when renovation is completed, he says. Too new, insist some critics, to the point that history is being whitewashed. "The whole place is staffed with people who just came out of the egg. They don't know anything about the property," says Margaret Ternes, who often stayed at the Plaza in the 1960s. "It's been glitzed up and that has ruined the historical patina of it. My God, why don't they just go to Las Vegas and leave us alone."

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones married at the Plaza

It's not just the nouveau riche shopping emporiums and faux turn-of-the-century décor New Yorkers are turning up their noses at. "You go in there and you want to throw up," sniffs one high-end real estate broker who has sold residences at the Plaza. "The people sitting in the lobby look like vagrants, the service at the Palm Court is rotten, and the prices are atrocious."

Photo: AP Images
The Plaza also hosted the Beatles' first U.S. stay.

The Plaza isn't the only hotel to turn some rooms into permanent residences. The Pierre, the Sherry-Netherland and the Carlyle all have apartments in addition to hotel rooms, and co-op boards vet potential buyers. The Plaza, however, has no board. "The Pierre and the Sherry-Netherland and the St. Regis are still elegant. But they control who does and doesn't buy," says broker Laurence Kaiser IV, who has sold units in the Plaza.

Condos at the Plaza are available to anyone with enough cash to purchase a unit, and the building has reportedly attracted an international jet set, many of whom are rarely seen at their Manhattan pieds-à-terre. There are currently 31 listings for the building's units on the market, ranging from a $1.8 million studio to a $46 million apartment (Tommy Hilfiger reportedly pulled his $50 million duplex off the market last week).

In February of this year, the empty hallways turned from lonely to menacing, when one resident, real estate broker Joanna Cutler, got locked in the garbage room for seven hours (although the Plaza didn't officially open to the public until March, private residents were allowed to move in earlier). No one was around to hear her screams. She was reportedly discovered at 6 a.m. the next day by a building worker.

Joanna isn't the only ruffled resident. The developers have been dragged intocourt by at least two disgruntled penthouse buyers for fraud and breaches of contract. First, Russian financier Andrei Vavilov, who purchased a $53.5 million duplex penthouse, filed suit against the developer in September. The lawsuit claims that two penthouses were sold based on models that advertised grandeur—but instead, the buyers ended up with what the suit calls "glorified attic space." The lawsuit accuses El-Ad of using "bait and switch" tactics that "promised one thing and then delivered something quite different." Later that month, a second penthouse buyer reportedly filed a $6.5 million suit for breach of contract.

The plaintiffs complain that, though they purchased apartments specifically because of the promised floor-to-ceiling windows, ceilings are too low and windows too small to allow for a sweeping view of the Park.

"My little Upper West Side studio has better windows than this supposedly magnificent penthouse," says one confidante of Andrei's, who reports that his friend's ceiling is less than six feet high in places. Furthermore, two of the lawsuits complain about ugly bathroom tiles, "unappealing drainage grates" and cooling units installed in unattractive columns.

For his part, Miki sees the lawsuits and real estate flips as nothing more than buyer's remorse during a financial crisis. "A lot of people lost a lot of money," admits Miki. "If you look at top-tier real estate, you'll see many apartments for sale right now because people need to cash out." But turnover at 15 Central Park West, a new luxury building on the park between61st and 62nd Streets, is far lower than at the Plaza. "Fifteen Central Park West was such a home run," says one broker who sells units at the Plaza. "But when you're doing ground-up construction, it's a lot easier to control." Indeed, some of the problem in modernizing the Plaza is that the building is a National Historic Landmark, meaning parts of it can't be altered. "You have to walk 300 feet from the elevator to get to your apartment," says a broker. "It's an extra five minutes to get out the door for dinner. That's what happens when you can't change the design."

Real estate broker Laurence says that he has only "one customer at the Plaza who is satisfied with their apartment. Other than that, I don't think the hotel has lived up to the standards people expect."

Catherine Saxton adds that "the Plaza has lost its integrity. Today it's all about money." To wit, a room in the hotel rents for around $765 a night, depending on the season—before El-Ad took over, rooms started at $359.

And although a spokesman for the Plaza says that occupancy rates are currently high and that many nights, the hotel is sold out, calls to the reservations line reveal availability throughout the month of December, which is supposedly peak season. A pedicure at the new Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa at the Plaza, meanwhile, costs $95. Afternoon tea at the Palm Court runs between $50 and $120 per person (before the revamp, tea at the Palm Court was $29 per person).

Yet with even the wealthiest scaling back on luxury spending, Miki remains confident that the Plaza will survive and expand. "A financial crisis creates opportunities," he says. "We are starting to see opportunities [for properties] that we couldn't find in the last two years."

Perhaps Page Six Magazine columnist and former Plaza owner Ivana Trump sums it up best: "As much as any owner wants to make back their investment, leaving the Plaza as a venerable luxury attraction would be better than just making money from it." No doubt Eloise, the fictional girl who's sold over 4.5 million books that revel in the grand history of the Plaza, would have to agree with that.

Copyright 2008 NYP Holdings, Inc.

April 16th, 2009, 07:51 PM
Just a few shots of the palm Court and adjacent area:







April 16th, 2009, 11:38 PM
Good to see you posting photos again, MG.

April 17th, 2009, 08:09 AM
The Plaza's lobby used to seem like a public place. Does it still?

April 17th, 2009, 11:37 AM
Actually it almost felt like I was trespassing.

April 17th, 2009, 11:39 AM
^ That's how it looks in the photos.

April 17th, 2009, 10:49 PM
Thanks very very much for all of the pictures of the Plaza Hotel. And thanks very very much for all of the posts about the Plaza Hotel.

April 26th, 2009, 12:25 PM
we took a walk-thru yesterday afternoon. and while it was the first nice saturday in a long time i was amazed at what a ghosttown the inside of the plaza was. a few diner son the left at the entrance, but the middle section was completely empty. no one in the halls either. not a single person over at the oak bar (although there were a couple of diners). quite a change vs in the past! :(

April 26th, 2009, 04:02 PM
Killer Condo :mad:

May 30th, 2009, 02:30 AM
At the Plaza Hotel, Flashbacks and Revelations

By GLENN COLLINS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/glenn_collins/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

The tour guide, Francis Morrone, center, asked outside the Palm Court, “How many of you had tea here?” Most said they had.

As an exercise in public relations, it was a success: there were oohs. Certainly there were aahs. There was gawking and pointing.

There was even a smattering of applause for the guide, Francis Morrone, the author and architectural critic who was leading a new, free behind-the-scenes tour, unveiling to the public the controversial $400 million renovation of a city landmark: the Plaza Hotel (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/plaza_hotel/index.html?inline=nyt-org) at Fifth Avenue.

But since this was a tour group of 24 New Yorkers, the first question hardly referenced landmark preservation: “Could you please speak up?” Brenda Steere asked, competing with the music track in the Plaza’s new subterranean luxury shopping mall.

Unfazed, Mr. Morrone gestured for the group to gather more closely around him and tore right into his spiel, part of a new effort at the Plaza to put its best foot forward.

Some were pleasantly surprised, as the tour headed upstairs. Looking about the lobby for the Plaza’s 181 condominium apartments (most of which have sold for $2.5 million to $50 million), Roberta Balsam said, “They’ve improved things over the Trump era,” adding: “They got rid of that bright green lobby rug. And Trump liked to paint everything gold.” A retired New York State government manager, she gave her age as “old enough to know better than to answer.”

Soon Mr. Morrone led the tour into the Grand Ballroom, that neoclassical fantasyland for lavish rites of passage that was reopened a year ago after a $12.5 million renovation.

John Sibley, 76, smiled and said, “I remember being in white tie and tails here, escorting a beautiful young lady.”

“And I remember spending my honeymoon here in the Plaza,” said Mr. Sibley, a retired luxury-luggage salesman who added that “if you were a New Yorker, well, the Plaza was the epitome.”

The tours, which began in April, require reservations through the hotel, at (212) 546-5477. They are fully booked until June, Mr. Morrone said, “because there are so many New Yorkers of a certain age who knew the hotel or had dined there.”

Miki Naftali, president of Elad Properties, the Plaza’s owner, said he wanted to show off the landmark public rooms, which, he said, “have been restored to their original glory.” Ergo: the hourlong tours every Tuesday and Saturday afternoon, revealing the Plaza as if it were blinking in the daylight after those three Rip Van Winkle renovation years, off-line from the city’s party whirl.

Elad bought the property for $675 million in 2004 and spent more than it had expected to turn it into a condominium-and-hotel hybrid. In April 2005, responding to protests against a plan to convert the Plaza to condominiums and stores, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/michael_r_bloomberg/index.html?inline=nyt-per) helped broker a compromise that preserved nearly half the hotel rooms and kept the jobs of more than a third of the Plaza’s 900 workers.

Along the way, Elad confronted union battles, legal threats by condominium buyers, recession headlines about tenant unrest in its underpopulated underground mall and a continuing embarrassment: the fabled Palm Court restaurant has been closed for the last five months in a search for a new operator.

But now, Mr. Naftali said, “We are proud of what we accomplished and wanted to invite New Yorkers and visitors in to see for themselves, to engage them and to reassure them that the legend continues.”

For those in the tour group, nostalgia seemed to outpoint architectural correctness.

“I have many fond memories of the Plaza — my sister Lenore was married here in 1966,” said Ms. Steere, 70, a retired theater manager.

Mr. Morrone, 51, an adjunct professor at New York University (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/new_york_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and a former architecture critic for the now defunct New York Sun, said, “I was completely unmoved by the Plaza drama because I didn’t think it was one of the greatest buildings in New York.”

But, added Mr. Morrone, whom Elad pays for the tours, “the restoration transformed my perception of the Plaza as a great building. This is one of several really great city restorations.”

Plaza critics are less celebratory about the face-lift.

“I think it is vulgar,” said David Garrard Lowe, president of the Beaux Arts Alliance in Manhattan, who advocated the preservation of the hotel in 2005. “No one in charge had any taste. Not that they haven’t spent enough money, but this renovation doesn’t hit the right notes. The Plaza has lost its gaiety, its sense of public festivity.”

Another critic, Michele Birnbaum, president of Historic Park Avenue, who worked to support preservation of the public rooms, said that the new owners had “violated the integrity of the building.”

Mr. Morrone served up many informational curiosities during the tour: In the renovated Terrace Room, “the chandeliers are a replica of those in the Palace of Versailles,” he said. And in the reverberating, unoccupied spaces of the quondam Edwardian Room — once a restaurant and now a function room — Mr. Morrone pointed on high to the oft-unnoticed mirrored panels in the ceiling, which “make the room look even loftier than it is,” he said.

When Mr. Morrone segued to the Palm Court, he asked, “How many of you had tea here?” Most hands went up.

“The Palm Court was the place for daddy and his girl on special occasions,” reminisced Judy Katten, a Manhattan lawyer who gave her age as “55-plus.”
In the Oak Room restaurant, Mr. Morrone said, “With the restoration, I was blown away by how beautiful the English oak is now,” after decades of smoke residue had been removed.

Ms. Steere spoke up again: “The window treatments just don’t fit in here,” she said, indicating the coppery hangings at five decorative windows.

Soon, after vamping a bit more on the room’s history, Mr. Morrone pointed up to another eccentricity at the central chandelier, topped by a small statue. “If you look closely,” he said, “you can see there is a maiden hoisting a stein of beer.”

Everyone did. Ooh. Aah.


June 20th, 2009, 07:07 AM
The Plaza Stirs

By JOSH BARBANEL (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/josh_barbanel/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

FEW developments rode the wave of high prices in the Manhattan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo) residential real estate the way the 181 condominium apartments at the Plaza Hotel (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/plaza_hotel/index.html?inline=nyt-org) did, and few have chilled as much in the downturn.

As it happened, the financial panic on Wall Street last September came just as the Plaza, the city’s most expensive condominium conversion ever, per square foot, was hit by a wave of bad publicity.

There were complaints that the finishes and details did not live up to the building’s luxurious image. A lawsuit by a Russian billionaire who signed up for a $53.5 million penthouse alleged “bait and switch” tactics. The suit and a countersuit by the Plaza were later settled.

Several buyers closed on apartments, but put them back on the market after barely a walk-through, including a gallery owner who bought five apartments, the Frank Lloyd Wright (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/frank_lloyd_wright/index.html?inline=nyt-per) Suite among them, for $49.2 million, and promptly put them in the recycling bin.

Since then, inventory has been growing, and little has been selling. There are now about 30 listings at the Plaza, with a total asking price of more than $250 million. A review of property records as of last week shows that only one resale has closed since September 2008, a sharp reversal of fortune for a building that sometimes had two or three sponsor closings in a single day.

In May, a seventh-floor apartment sold for $8 million, more than 8 percent below the original $8.74 million price. A sponsor-owned unit also sold in May for $11.8 million. In the last few weeks, after price cuts and the public’s reacquaintance with the Oak Room and other long-closed public spaces at the Plaza, activity has picked up, brokers say, and a handful of deals have been done.

Carrie Chiang, a broker at the Corcoran Group with two apartments in contract at the Plaza, said buyers had begun to realize that despite the building’s “bad press,” it was “New York’s trophy, a building that nobody can ever build again.” She said her apartments were selling because they had the “bargain prices” in the building. “If you buy low,” she said, “the value can only go higher.”

She has just knocked more than $4 million off the price of two apartments on the fourth floor, including a $3 million cut in the asking price for the four-bedroom 4,000-square-foot Frank Lloyd Wright Suite. It is now priced at $18.5 million, down 28 percent from the $25.7 million asking price of last year and 14 percent from the $21.5 million sales price set in a contract signed in March 2006.

The Plaza, which is on Central Park South and Fifth Avenue, and 15 Central Park West, a new building a few blocks away at West 62nd Street, were the standout buildings at the height of the real estate boom, status symbols for multimillionaires. In the first quarter of 2008, closings at the two buildings drove the average condominium sale price in Manhattan up by 22 percent, to a record of more than $1.9 million, a level that may not be matched again for decades.

But since then, their fortunes have diverged. Despite the downturn, eight apartment resales at 15 Central Park West have closed since mid-September 2008, though only one so far in 2009.

Jonathan Miller, an appraiser and president of Miller Samuel Inc., said that at the peak, sales at the two buildings “fed off each other,” driving prices ever higher. He said that sales over the next two years would establish which building will hold its value better. “The early signs are showing that 15 Central Park West has more interest,” he said.

A 17th-floor apartment at the Plaza was listed in contract last week. It was owned by Oscar Schafer, a managing partner at O.S.S. Capital Management. Mr. Schafer closed on the three-bedroom apartment for $14.6 million in June 2008, and put it on the market the next month for $18 million. By the time it went into contract, the asking price was $12.5 million. The sale price was not disclosed.

Roger Erickson, a broker at Sotheby’s International Realty, has one of the most expensive listings at the Plaza, the Astor Suite, with an asking price of $38 million, down from $55 million last year. After no buyer interest in the apartment for months, he said, several potential buyers, including one from Russia and one from Brazil, have come through. “The negative publicity really put a cloud over the building,” he said. “We are seeing the sun through the clouds.”


June 20th, 2009, 11:03 AM
we took a walk-thru yesterday afternoon. and while it was the first nice saturday in a long time i was amazed at what a ghosttown the inside of the plaza was. a few diner son the left at the entrance, but the middle section was completely empty. no one in the halls either. not a single person over at the oak bar (although there were a couple of diners). quite a change vs in the past! :(

Both the hotel and the oak room seems well visited whenever I've been there at least.

January 17th, 2010, 11:56 PM
Luster of Plaza Hotel Fades as Economy Pinches the Rich



When an Israeli billionaire bought New York’s storied Plaza Hotel for $675 million, he envisioned turning the plucky grande dame with the globally recognized name into mainly a luxury condo tower that would cater to the world’s wealthiest buyers and offer stores to satisfy their every desire.

But now, six years later, with the city in an acute recession, the grandest aims of the new owner, Isaac Tshuva, and the excitement of the new Plaza’s first residents seem to have dimmed, according to sales data.
The last 11 owners to sell their luxury condos at the Plaza Hotel sold them at a loss, including the owner of Apartment 409, which sold for $8.5 million less than it cost 16 months before.

The Plaza’s underground luxury stores are struggling to attract shoppers, and one expert broker is consequently advising clients not to take space there.

And this spring, steps below where F. Scott Fitzgerald found his muse for “The Great Gatsby,” the hotel is opening an upscale food court offering burgers and pizza. The Palm Court, the Plaza’s famous restaurant, has been closed.

“It’s gone from being a landmark to being just a building,” Clark Wolf, an independent restaurant consultant, said of the situation. “In an era without a Tavern on the Green or a Cafe des Artistes, we need something. New York City is screaming for a landmark.”

But the 102-year-old Plaza still has cachet. To many New Yorkers and tourists, the Plaza is still the place where Eloise, the fictional 6-year-old, treats the hotel as her playground, and Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman share late-afternoon drinks at the Oak Bar. And the Plaza’s overall financial picture means little to prospective brides: The Grand Ballroom is still booked every Saturday night in May.

In the heady first couple of years after Mr. Tshuva acquired the Plaza in 2004, he reaped the rewards of a real estate boom. After a $450 million makeover was complete, Mr. Tshuva’s real estate firm sold all 181 units sight unseen for a total of more than $1.3 billion. The prices for these apartments were so high that real estate brokerage firms started separating the Plaza’s sales figures from their overall data reporting because they distorted the market.

But Mr. Tshuva would also fight with the hotel union, battle with the owners of the rights to Eloise’s image and even endure cries of protest about the possible loss of the Plaza. The actress Sarah Jessica Parker held her 40th birthday party there in a show of support for the hotel.

According to data tracked by Streeteasy.com, Earl McEvoy, a mutual fund manager who paid $4.79 million for an apartment in October 2007, sold it last summer for $4 million. Guy Wildenstein, president of the Wildenstein & Company gallery on the Upper East Side and owner of a large private art collection, sold Apartment 409, and another unit he bought in August 2008 for $9.6 million went for $6 million 15 months later.

Then there was Oscar S. Schafer, a managing partner at the hedge fund O.S.S. Capital Management, who took a hit on No. 1709. He bought the three-bedroom unit for $14.6 million in May 2008 and sold it for $8.5 million in July 2009. And 9 of the 28 apartments in the building on the market have slashed their asking prices.

Some context: Lawyers and brokers say that 15 Central Park West, a new property whose condos were sold at roughly at the same time as the Plaza’s, had its last 10 transactions sell for well over their asking price.

Edward Mermelstein, a real estate lawyer who represented more than two dozen buyers of apartments at the Plaza and 15 Central Park West, said that since both properties opened, his clients preferred 15 Central Park West apartments for its bigger windows and bigger-name residents.

It is possible, then, that his buyers want to live near the chief executive of Goldman Sachs at 15 Central Park West, not the former chief executive of Bear Stearns at the Plaza.

“You have the perception at this point that 15 Central Park West is very much a private club,” Mr. Mermelstein said. “The Plaza has very much of a feeling of a hotel.”

But even the most serious skeptics of the relative value of the Plaza condos say that once the residential real estate slowdown passes, the building will be desirable to some buyers.

“With its uniqueness in the world, and its name in the world, it’s going to be a sought-after address,” said Noel Berk, a real estate broker who lives in and has sold apartments at 15 Central Park West. “The Plaza is the Plaza.”

One of the central struggles at the Plaza involves the shopping center Mr. Tshuva’s firm, Elad Properties, created in the hotel’s basement. It now includes several luxury retailers like the Viennese pâtisserie Demel, Maurice Fine Jewelry and Krigler perfumes. But a shirt maker, Eton of Sweden, has closed.

Alan Victor, president of the retail brokerage firm Lansco, said that while two of his brokers made deals there, he was advising clients not to set up shop there because of the location off Fifth Avenue and the recession.
“It’s just too risky to put our tenants there,” he said.

Plaza executives responsible for the hotel and events divisions say that while the market has been tough, it is slowly getting better.

Business for events booked in the Grand Ballroom dropped 20 percent in 2009, from 2008, said Liz Neumark, principal of CPS Events, which has a 25-year lease to manage the hotel’s event spaces. She credits the drop to a decline in corporate meetings and the tighter budgets of nonprofit organizations.

Shane Krige, general manager of the 282-room hotel that still operates at the Plaza, said that occupancy for hotel rooms followed similar trends.

But Plaza executives also see some hopeful signs. Ms. Neumark predicts a 30 percent jump in wedding bookings this year. The hotel’s occupancy rate rose to 90 percent in December, according to Mr. Krige. The hotel also just received its first five-diamond rating from AAA, and several princes and princesses stayed there last week.

It remains to be seen whether the mix of restaurants in the building will meet the standards of truly highbrow guests. The Edwardian Room remains closed except for private events. The Palm Court, which reopened briefly, closed again in December 2008. Mr. Krige said that Fairmont, which manages the hotel, plans to reopen the Palm Court this spring, and he is posting job openings there. The Oak Bar, the Oak Room, the Champagne Bar and the Rose Club remain open.

The celebrity chef Todd English is sorting out construction details for a 5,400-square-foot food hall next to the basement stores. Mr. English’s spokeswoman on this project, Willie Norkin, dismissed any questions that the market’s food offerings — they will range from sushi to dumplings to pizza — may not be up to the Plaza’s reputation.

“I don’t think the goal here is to have offerings that are going to be exclusive,” she said. “It’s going to have offerings that are inclusive and appealing.”

Joey Alaham, a part owner in the Oak Room and owner of three other restaurants, said that even in the face of the recession, there is a history about the Plaza that still draws customers. He described a 97-year-old man who recently visited the Oak Bar. He ordered a Macallan Scotch and gazed at the newly restored murals around him.

“His wife passed away,” Mr. Alaham said. “He came in to remember their first date.”


January 18th, 2010, 09:41 AM
The entryways to the Plaza used to be abuzz with folks. Nowadays they seem pretty dead. Mainly I see lots of tourists taking pictures.

How the mighty have fallen.

May 20th, 2010, 05:58 AM
One Lawsuit Later, Plaza Penthouse Comes Back at $24M

May 19, 2010, by Sara




http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4003/4621872639_80e51329f1_s.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4003/4621872639_cd29809134_o.jpg) http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/3335/4622479700_b49c8501f4_s.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/3335/4622479700_51a9d6465b_o.jpg)
(click to enlarge)

Penthouse 2001 at The Plaza has been mired in litigation since 2008, when the apartment's buyer, a 30-something hedgie, sued developer El-Ad Properties for breach of contract. His complaints: fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive trade practices, all of which led him to demand his $6.5 million deposit back, plus legal fees. The suit was actually settled in October, when a court dismissed the lawsuit and allowed the sponsor to keep the deposit and re-list the unit. But it's taken until now for PH #2001 to come back on the market. What's in those photos above is now listed for $24 million.

Listing: 1 Central Park South (http://www.stribling.com/propinfo.asp?webid=1181257&type=SALE) [Stribling]
Plaza coverage (http://ny.curbed.com/tags/the-plaza) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/05/19/one_lawsuit_later_plaza_penthouse_comes_back_at_24 m.php

May 21st, 2010, 02:55 PM
Is there no hope that the palm court will ever re-open? How can NY let these valued places die -- surely they are important for tourism reasons alone?

May 21st, 2010, 07:49 PM
You think that taxpayer dollars should be used to get it up and running?

The tourists have a gazillion places to go. Besides, the Plaza folks probably don't know how to deal with all the shorts and flip flops.

May 21st, 2010, 10:59 PM
I believe that these places give a city an elegant, refined air and serve as important landmarks or meeting places amonst the trendy clubs, restaurants, etc. London has the ritz, Rome has the hassler, Venice has harry's, Paris has the ritz also. Great institutions that define a great city and give a city stability. No, this is a great tragedy that such a place would be turned into a food court serving hot dogs and pizza!

No, I do not believe that tax payers money should be used, but I really think it is such a shame that such a place can't exist today and I blame the stupid company that ruined the plaza. I blame the residents for not banding together to stop this.

I believe places like these closing will damage NY. IMO NY just appears a cheap, faddish city the more this happens... It appears Ny doesn't value its special places when I see this happening. This was an elegant tea room amonst the hundreds of stupid starbucks and the like dominated by laptop using zomby students.

September 11th, 2010, 03:33 AM
What I posted in #146, yes, but never in a million years would I have guessed that \/ is in the Plaza Hotel :eek:.

Plaza Portholes Worthy of 'Hideous' Tag?

September 10, 2010, by Joey



http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4151/4976617973_9ddc95a178_s.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4151/4976617973_2b3ccec81a_o.png) http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4129/4977229122_cfe06a0e07_s.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4129/4977229122_81dc15ac2a_o.png) http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4127/4977229294_519de5406f_s.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/cache/gallery/4127/4977229294_8899331223_o.png)
(click to enlarge)

They've been mocked in lawsuits, Vanity Fair exposés and, naturally, countless Curbed comments. We're talking about the windows in some of The Plaza's grandest and most expensive apartments. They're the necessary collateral damage of doing business with an iconic landmark set in its ways, but that hasn't stopped the windows from being branded "attic-like" and other nasty adjectives. Lay off, people! It's not like Central Park is worth seeing, anyhow! But still the name-calling persists. A tipster has nominated The Plaza #1707—a 2,975sqft three-bedroom asking $11.95 million (it sold for $10.3M in 2008)—for the That's Rather Hideous hall of shame. The charges include the "porthole windows," but also the headache-inducing kaleidoscope of colors. But given the pied-a-terre nature of many of these Plaza pads, isn't a little color part of the fun? So we ask...

Listing: 1 Central Park South (http://www.prudentialelliman.com/listings.aspx?listingid=1228578&utm_source=Streeteasy&utm_campaign=corporate&utm_medium=listings) [Elliman]
Plaza Penthouses Getting Rid of That 'Attic-Like' Feeling? (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/07/28/plaza_penthouses_getting_rid_of_that_atticlike_fee ling.php) [Curbed]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/09/10/plaza_portholes_worthy_of_hideous_tag_take_the_pol l.php