Graciano Corporation Launches Comprehensive Waldorf=Astoria Restoration

08/21/2011, New York, NY

Midtown Art Deco Landmark Owners Award Five-Year Façade and Roof Project

(New York, NY) In a task both delicate and monumental, Graciano Corporation, one of the country’s leading architectural masonry restoration firms, has embarked on a facade and roof restoration project for New York’s iconic Waldorf=Astoria hotel.

Graciano’s work on the celebrated 1930’s structure began this summer, and will include rebuilding parapets and replacing timeworn stone, brick and terra cotta elements with authentic materials that replicate the building’s original architectural details. Founded in 1916, Graciano has long been recognized for meticulous restoration of Manhattan landmarks, including The Cloisters, Rockefeller Center and the Apollo Theater.

Rising 625 feet from the sidewalk at 301 Park Avenue, The Waldorf=Astoria was designed by the architectural firm of Schultze and Weaver, and today is a National Trust for Historic Preservation landmark. The current restoration project is the latest phase in a continuing campaign by The Waldorf=Astoria and its owners, Hilton Worldwide, to preserve the Art Deco structure and comply with New York’s Local Law 11, which requires periodic inspections and repairs on buildings more than five stories tall.

“This is like repairing a priceless antique watch that has to keep perfect time while you work to restore its structure,” says Graciano’s President, Glenn Foglio.

“Essentially, we’re going around the building and, from grade to the highest reaches, laying hands on every exterior surface. For instance, the lower 18 floors are Indiana limestone that’s been weathering for many, many years. After giving it a gentle cleaning, we’ll carefully match our repointing, “dutchman” patching and replacement masonry to preserve the character of the stone that’s been in place since the 1930s,” says Tom Corbo, Graciano’s Vice President and General Manager.

“And that’s just what’s on the façade,” he says. “It’s a 42-story building with a lot of other elements, including cast stone, terra cotta and brick. Then we have all the roofing systems, abatement issues, specific repairs and replications, molds and models and color matching.”

The Graciano team will work under the watchful eyes of The New York Landmarks Conservancy, and collaborate closely with Waldorf=Astoria hotel management, while distinguished and demanding guests meet, rest and dine undisturbed. Smoothly running a grand hotel that’s shrouded in scaffolding and swarming with craftsmen and construction workers makes close coordination essential, says Corbo.

“Fortunately, the hotel people are incredibly proactive and passionate about maintaining this building as the flagship of Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, one of Hilton Worldwide’s two luxury brands. They’re cooperative, engaged and a real help in doing what we need to do.”

“Overall,” he says, “This is one of the most challenging projects I can remember, and I’ve been involved in a lot of them. Sometimes it calls for brute strength; other times it’s almost surgical. But we’re loving it.”

With offices in New York, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, Graciano Corporation is known and respected nationwide for its expertise in historic restoration and preservation. Some of the company’s other recent projects include the Cork Factory and Union Two Mellon Center in Pittsburgh, and the Queensboro Bridge, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Farley Post Office/ Moynihan Station and MetLife Tower in New York. The company has earned awards from the International Masonry Institute, New York Construction News, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) and many other authoritative sources.

Contact: Glenn Foglio, President, Graciano Corporation 412-963-8400.