Qatari State-Owned Company Buys NYC’s Plaza Hotel for $600M

A Qatari state-owned company has taken over New York’s Plaza Hotel, according to the operator of the historic property.

Katara Hospitality, Qatar Investment Authority’s hotel division, finalized the purchase on July 2, according to a representative for Accor SA, which was told of the ownership change.

Katara acquired 100 percent of the property from its majority owner, Sahara India Pariwar, as well as minority owners Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., Kingdom Holding Co. and Sant Singh Chatwal, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Bloomberg News, who asked not to be identified. The transaction was valued at $600 million, one of the people said.

Representatives for Katara Hospitality and Sahara didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg. Chatwal, chairman of Dream Hotel Group LLC, and a representative for Ashkenazy declined to comment. Accor said its Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will continue to manage the property.

“The Plaza’s legacy of renowned luxury, incomparable service and timeless elegance will continue,” Sandra Pinto Duhamel, an Accor spokeswoman, said in an email.

The property had been hotly contested, which comes as little surprise considering its prime location across from the southeast corner of Central Park.

Last month, United Capital Real Estate Development Corp. wanted in on the action too, which is why it sued Sahara India Pariwar Chairman Subrata Roy and Sahara US Corp., alleging they breached an agreement by seeking a separate deal, and fraudulently induced United to enter into contracts, show proof of funds and place money in escrow, Bloomberg reports.

John DeMaio, an attorney for United Capital Real Estate, said there are unresolved situations known as “lis pendens.” He said that his client is confident that it has the only valid contract because the other agreements were not signed by Roy, though it’s not guaranteed that Sahara representatives in America have the appropriate authority, according to Bloomberg.

“We are going to pursue all of our legal rights to enforce our contract, including injunctive relief if necessary,” DeMaio said.

A person close to the seller said the United Capital contract isn’t valid thanks to a lack of proof of funds or a deposit. The person said a court process should sort out any of these outstanding issues.

DeMaio said his client was in full compliance with all contract terms and the contract is fully enforceable, according to Bloomberg.

The Plaza, which opened 111 years ago, is known as the fictional home of children’s book character Eloise and has been featured in films such as “Home Alone 2” and “North by Northwest.” Among its prior owners is President Donald Trump, who was forced to sell it more than two decades ago as part of a bankruptcy. He also married his second wife, Marla Maples, there, Bloomberg reports.

Reuters first reported the sale earlier this week.

By: Jacklyn Brookman

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