On June 12, 2015 Crane’s Chicago Business reported on the sale of a major hotel in the city. The Waldorf Astoria on Walton Street in Chicago will be sold at a record-breaking price.
The real estate paper confirms the Waldorf Astoria will be sold for $113 million, which averages out to be $600,000 per room with 188 rooms. This will equal the highest price per room in the city’s history. Crane’s Chicago Business conveys that the deal will be made between Sam Zell, the current owner, and Laurence Geller.
Forbes describes Zell as a real-estate businessman whose net worth is currently valued at $4.8 billion. They demonstrate how he has also branched out his investment dealings by venturing into other industries such as energy and cable. Zell has bought and sold several companies to grow his value. He is on Forbes’s list of The World’s Billionaires.
Bloomberg profiles Geller as an experienced and successful hotelier. They show that he has spent over 45 years in the hospitality industry and has been involved in leadership positions in most of the major brands, including Holiday Inn and Hyatt. Geller is currently listed as serving as a leader for four major groups in the industry, today.
Bloomberg says, “Mr. Laurence S. Geller, CBE, serves as the President of Strategic Hotel Funding, LLC. Mr. Geller serves as an Executive Officer at Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. Mr. Geller serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Strategic Hotel Capital, LLC.” He is characterized as a very influential man in the hotel industry.
In December 2014, the Chicago Tribune reported that Geller was part of a real estate deal aiming to turn an old office building into a 290-room Conrad hotel. The tribune explains this structure is located on E. Erie St. and would be the second Conrad building in the city. These sources say Chicago is in the middle of a “hotel boom.” There are a number of hotels being built around Michigan Ave. the city’s major tourism district.
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago is involved in a deal that will set a record-breaking price tag. At $600,000 per room, Crane’s Business Chicago illuminates that this beats the old record. The prior record was set by Zell’s purchase of the same hotel at $505,000 per room. The Waldorf Astoria is boasted as one of Chicago’s finest.
Forbes Travel Guide describes the building as one of the most stylish and luxurious in the city. They describe it as influenced by Coco Chanel, featuring many of the designer’s prints in the furnishings and decorations. The Waldorf Astoria is listed as having 36 guest rooms and 152 suites. The hotel includes Balsan, the onsite restaurant for casual dining, and a second-floor bar, Bernard’s. The travel guide tells guests that there is also a deluxe spa available.
Chicago Magazine has featured the Waldorf Astoria in articles boasting its lavishness. They report that the hotel has won a number of awards, many of those being in 2014. One such accolade was being named the No. 2 Large City Hotel in the Continental U.S. by Travel+Leisure’s 2013 World’s Best Awards. It is speculated that the new ownership’s experience should continue to uphold the standards set forth since the hotel opened in 2009.
In 2013, The New York Times reported on the need for Chicago’s growing hotel business. They stated that the city is seeing an increase in tourism. Historically, the city has depended on numerous conferences to fill its hotels. Recently, however, experts are noting an increase in the number of leisurely visitors. This is explained as a new reason behind the surge in hotel construction.
The price at which Geller’s record-breaking purchase for the Waldorf Astoria Chicago was set is suspected to be a sound acquisition for the hotelier. The industry is reported as growing quickly in that city, therefore; investments of this nature are projected to pay off.
By Megan Hellmann
Crane’s Chicago Business- Zell to Sell Waldorf for Record Chicago Price
Forbes-The World’s Billionaires
Bloomberg- Strategic Hotels and Resorts I
The Chicago Tribune- 2nd Conrad Planned for Near North Side
Feature Photo Courtesy of Roman Boed’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of Kristin Wall’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of Basil D Soufi Wikimedia Page – Creative Commons License
Chicago Magazine- Why the Waldorf Astoria is One of Chicago’s Best Hotels