The Chrysler Building has been an icon of the New York City skyline for more almost 90 years. However, the interior has always been almost entirely off-limits to visitors. That may change thanks to new owners who are teasing they may convert part of the building into a luxury hotel.
For decades, most of the Chrysler Building’s 77 floors have remained occupied by well-to-do companies seeking a prestigious, ultra-exclusive Manhattan street address. Most folks are surprised to learn that the highest floors including the crown are currently used for storage. (For shame!) Outsiders looking to catch a glimpse of the stunning Art Deco building are limited to a quick lobby visit, a few sidewalk photos, or an aerial view from the window seat of their flight into the city.
The building’s historic status means much of its original design will likely need to remain intact and changes will need to pass an approval process.
Now, after a decade in the hands of an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm, the building was sold earlier in March 2019 for a reported $150 million. The new owners told Bloomberg they’re considering converting part of the building — presumably the upper floors — into a luxury hotel. As one of the city’s tallest structures, we can only imagine the view from the top. The transformation won’t be cheap or easy, however. The building’s National Historic Landmark status means much of its original Art Deco design will likely need to remain intact and any changes will need to pass a lengthy and rigorous approval process. Plus, the renovations necessary to turn it into a working hotel could top USD $250 million.
While the Chrysler Building stands as one of New York City’s most recognizable structures, the days of billion-dollar companies using towering skyscrapers as office buildings are waning. Many are now seeking sprawling Silicon Valley-style campuses like the city’s shiny new Hudson Yards project. Considering that the building’s average rent is around $50 per square foot and the fact that it’s losing $20 million annually, it seems it might be better off as a hotel.
Definitive plans for the future of the Chrysler Building have yet to be announced. If the new owners move forward with their grand hotel plan, it will be a few years before visitors get a glimpse inside. When they do, you can bet The Manual will be hosting one hell of a Gatsby-style company Christmas party on the observation deck.
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