By: Justin Laithmoore
Manhattan’s luxurious St. Regis New York has been sold to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund by Marriott International Inc. in a deal valued at $310 million.
The property is just the latest addition to the Qatar Investment Authority holdings around the world, and especially in New York City.
The historic hotel at East 55th Street near Fifth Avenue was founded in 1904 by financier John Jacob Astor IV. It includes in excess of 200 rooms and suites – charging from $779 to more than $4,000 nightly — as well as the famed the King Cole Bar.
Marriott came into possession of the hotel when it purchased Starwood Hotels & Resorts for nearly $14 billion back in 2016. Today, the St. Regis brand can be found in such far-flung places as Shenzhen, China and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based hotel operator “recently disclosed its $206 million acquisition of the W New York Union Square, a move intended to jump-start the update of a beloved but faded brand. Marriott also agreed to pay $130 million for Elegant Hotels Group Plc to aid its new push into all-inclusive resorts,” reported Bloomberg. “Those moves fueled conjecture that Marriott would sell real estate assets to balance its portfolio following the recent acquisitions. In an Oct. 18 note, Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Michael Bellisario speculated that Marriott could be close to selling Sheraton hotels in Phoenix or Mexico City.”
The Qatar authority bought the renowned San Francisco St. Regis from Marriott roughly three years ago, noted The Wall Street Journal. “Another Qatar entity paid about $600 million for New York’s Plaza Hotel last year.”
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is a Sovereign Wealth Fund located in Doha Qatar, Middle East, and was founded in 2005, according to the company. “Current Assets for QIA is $328,000,000,000 and SWFI has 26 periods of historical assets, 60 subsidiaries, 243 transactions, 22 Opportunities/RFPs, 97 personal contacts available for CSV Export.”
Reuters recently pointed out that Qatar Investment Authority “aims to raise investments in the United States to $45 billion in the next two years as it rebalances its portfolio of assets away from Europe… The sovereign wealth fund has built up a huge European portfolio through stakes in companies including Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), Credit Suisse (CSGN.S), London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).”
Top executive Mansour Ibrahim al-Mahmoud recently said during informal interviews with journalists, “We are talking about $45 billion for the U.S. market… we are on track for this over the next two years.”