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Five Historic Hotels Converted to Condos in the United States

From Historic Hotel to Modern Condo.

As we have seen in the recent data, condos and townhomes are the fastest growing segment of the residential real estate market, both across the United States and here in Vermont as well.  People are attracted to the hassle-free style of living that is afforded by living in a condo development with a homeowner’s association to handle the day-to-day allocation of maintenance tasks.  Although there are plenty of ground-up new construction condo projects, there have been quite a few conversions as well.  Conversions occur when a developer buys an existing building, separates the units into condos as necessary and then files the appropriate paperwork with the municipality and county in order to have deeds for each unit, enabling individual ownership.  Sometimes the buildings have historical significance, and today we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some famous hotels that were ultimately converted into condo units.

5. The Vermont House

Right here in Vermont we have an amazing building, built in 1910 as the Hotel Vermont, which at the time was the largest hotel in the state.  A classic brick eight-story structure, built at the turn of the century, was converted into condos in the 1980’s, giving us the 58 one and two bedroom units, along with seven to eight retail spaces on the ground floor.  The building has some amazing original features including a granite-columned entrance way and original/restored ceiling and lobby artwork.

Vermont House 131 Main Street

4.) Waldorf-Astoria NYC

One of the world’s most legendary hotels, right in the heart of New York City is the Waldorf-Astoria.  The Waldorf-Astoria is a 47 story art-deco masterpiece that was constructed between 1929 and 1931 and was the world’s tallest hotel until 1963.  The hotel as of 2009 had about 1400 rooms - however, in 2014 the hotel was purchased for $1.95 billion by an insurance group from China.  In 2017, condo conversion began, creating 375 condos on the upper floors and leaving 375 hotel rooms on the lower 18 floors.  That company has since gone bankrupt and the new owner of the project is still completing the renovations which are expected to be fully done by 2025.


3. The Plaza Hotel NYC

A similar fate came to another Manhattan landmark hotel, The Plaza Hotel, also known as The Plaza.  Located at 58th street and Fifth Avenue, this 18 story hotel was completed in 1907 and had up to 800 rooms, amazing views of Central Park and exquisite ballrooms and event spaces.  The hotel has had numerous ownership changes over the many years, but in 2008 an extensive renovation was undertaken, resulting in a mixed use building with 181 condos and 282 hotel rooms.  Fairly similar to what is currently being done at the Waldorf. 


2. Empress Hotel Portland

In Portland, Oregon, the well-known Empress Hotel was built in 1927.  A five-story building that sits adjacent to the 405 freeway and the Alphabet District, The Empress Hotel was one of the first ever extended-stay hotels, which provided their guests with the necessities of a bed, bath and kitchenette.  Briefly in the early 2000’s the building became apartments for rent and in 2006 the units were officially converted to condos. The building was converted to 64 studio condos (which sold in the low $100’s back in 2006!) and a handful of smaller one and two bed units.  


1. For Summer House Charleston

Finally, the Fort Sumter House is a seven-story condo building in Charleston, South Carolina, that originally opened as a 225-room hotel in 1924.  After being purchased by Sheraton in 1967, Sheraton eventually sold the hotel to a group of investors in the 1970’s, who spent $2 million to convert the 225 rooms into 67 luxury condos.  They even added an eighth floor to the building to create a penthouse unit.  Lots of history surrounding this building and the area of Charleston, probably make this a fascinating place to own a home.


Thanks for Reading!

As we have seen, many of these conversions kept some of the hotel rooms and converted others to condos instead of converting everything to condos.  This falls in line with the very popular trend of “condo hotels”, which are luxury condos located in buildings that are operated by well-known luxury hotel brands.  Although they often come with a very high condo fee, the unit owners often have access to the amenities, concierge and facilities of the hotel, which lets people own their units while still being pampered as if they were a guest of the hotel.  These owners often utilize a separate private entrance and elevator to access these exclusive properties.    



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