Korean Hotelier Lotte Takes Over New York Palace
Lotte Hotels and Resorts said it had become the new owner of the New York Palace on Friday. The Korean hotelier purchased the property from Northwood Investors, a privately held real estate advisory firm, which had acquired it from the Sultan of Brunei in 2011.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The hotel, which opened in 1981 as the Helmsley Palace, was built around the Villard Houses, built in 1882 by Henry Villard, a railroad financier and designed by McKim, Mead, and White. In 1974, Harry Helmsley, a real estate developer, announced plans for a 55-story hotel that, with its dark bronze reflective glass design, would blend in with the Villard Houses.
Lotte is an affiliate of one of Korea’s biggest conglomerates, the Lotte Group, which posted $74 billion in annual revenue in 2013. Lotte Hotels & Resorts is one of the largest hoteliers in the Korean market.
In the 1980s, Leona Helmsley, the owner’s wife, became well known as a flamboyant spokesperson for the property while also becoming infamous for her tyrannical management style, earning her the name “Queen of Mean” from the hotel’s staff. The nickname had its origins in the hotel’s advertising campaigns, which portrayed her as a queen who wanted nothing but the best for her guests, and proclaimed “It’s the only palace in the world where the queen stands guard.”
(Photo: Accura Media Group)