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

  1. #136
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Actually it almost felt like I was trespassing.

  2. #137

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    ^ That's how it looks in the photos.

  3. #138

    Default The Plaza Hotel - 768 Fifth Avenue at Central Park South - by Henry J Hardenbergh

    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.

  4. #139
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    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!

  5. #140
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Killer Condo

  6. #141
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    At the Plaza Hotel, Flashbacks and Revelations

    By GLENN COLLINS


    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 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 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 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.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/30/ny...l?ref=nyregion

  7. #142
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    The Plaza Stirs

    By JOSH BARBANEL

    FEW developments rode the wave of high prices in the Manhattan residential real estate the way the 181 condominium apartments at the Plaza Hotel 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 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.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/re...ref=realestate

  8. #143
    European Import KenNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meesalikeu View Post
    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.

  9. #144
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    Luster of Plaza Hotel Fades as Economy Pinches the Rich

    By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY



    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.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/18/ny...l?ref=nyregion

  10. #145
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    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.

  11. #146
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    One Lawsuit Later, Plaza Penthouse Comes Back at $24M

    May 19, 2010, by Sara








    (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 [Stribling]
    Plaza coverage [Curbed]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/0...ack_at_24m.php

  12. #147

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    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?

  13. #148
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    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.

  14. #149

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    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.

  15. #150
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    What I posted in #146, yes, but never in a million years would I have guessed that \/ is in the Plaza Hotel .


    Plaza Portholes Worthy of 'Hideous' Tag?

    September 10, 2010, by Joey






    (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 [Elliman]
    Plaza Penthouses Getting Rid of That 'Attic-Like' Feeling? [Curbed]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/0...e_the_poll.php

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