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Passing of the Plaza's golden age
By David Litterick in New York (Filed: 28/01/2005)

The Plaza Hotel, one of New York's most famous landmarks and for almost a century the meeting place of kings, queens and presidents, will close at the end of April to be turned into a block of apartments for rich Americans and foreigners seeking a bolthole in the City.

The 59th Street hotel overlooking Central Park has been the scene of a host of movie moments. It was the star of Neil Simon's film Plaza Suite and appeared in North by Northwest, The Way We Were and Barefoot in the Park. It also hosted the second wedding of former owner Donald Trump, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.

New owners Elad Properties, which paid $675m for the building last year, said the top 12 floors would be given over to condominiums.

A reduced hotel with 150 rooms rather than the current 800 would remain "out of respect for the Plaza's historical significance", despite them being less profitable. The rooms will have street instead of park views.

Elad's chief executive Miki Naftali said he had already received calls from people interested in buying apartments, although the project is still in the design stage and prices have yet to be set.

The development will also contain a department store "even more exclusive than Saks or Harrods", he said.

14 August 2004: Hotel group gets £370m for Fifth Ave crown jewel



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