The original Waldorf–Astoria was built in two stages, as the Waldorf Hotel and the Astoria Hotel, which accounts for its dual name. That original site was situated on Astor family properties along Fifth Avenue, opened in 1893, and designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh. It was demolished in 1929 to make way for the construction of the Empire State Building.Particularly after its relocation, the Waldorf Astoria gained international renown for its lavish dinner parties and galas, often at the center of political and business conferences and fundraising schemes involving the rich and famous. Particularly after World War II it played a significant role in world politics and the Cold War, culminating in the controversial World Peace Conference of March 1949 at the hotel, whose Stalinism was widely denounced. Conrad Hilton acquired management rights to the hotel on October 12, 1949, and the Hilton Hotels Corporation finally bought the hotel outright in 1972. It underwent a $150 million renovation by Lee Jablin in the 1980s and early 1990s, and in October 2014 it was announced that the Anbang Insurance Group of China had purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York for US$1.95 billion, making it the most expensive hotel ever sold. Anbang then converted the Waldorf's upper-floor hotel rooms into 375 condominiums, closing the hotel for a three-year renovation on March 1, 2017.
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Louis Armstrong, performed at the Waldorf for two weeks in March 1971. This was Armstrong's last performance.
Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra paid nearly $1 million a year to keep it as his suite at the hotel between 1979 and 1988, which he called home when out of Los Angeles. Sinatra took over part of the hotel during the filming of The First Deadly Sin in 1980.
Cole Porter, Several boutiques surround the lobby, which contains Cole Porter's Steinway & Sons floral print-decorated grand piano on the Cocktail Terrace, which the hotel had once given him as a gift.