Qatar Investment Authority buys famous Park Lane Hotel for $623m

Qatar Investment Authority buys famous Park Lane Hotel for $623m

QLNews
By QLNews

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund — Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) — has purchased the iconic Park Lane Hotel, which overlooks Central Park, for an eye-watering sum of $623m.

QIA purchased the 46-storey hotel at 36 Central Park South, once called the world’s greatest site for development, from Steve Witkoff’s company, according to property records.

It was not immediately clear what the $450bn QIA planned to do with the property developed by Harry Helmsley in the 1960s.

In 2013, Witkoff bought the hotel for $654m with a plan of converting its 600 odd rooms into high-end condos. But three years later, he and his partners realised that the Billionaires’ Row market had become oversaturated. Hence they put the conversion on hold.

Though Chinese developer Greenland Group then bought a 41% stake in the project from Kuwait Strategic Investors, development was again derailed after Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit to seize the hotel as part of its investigation into businessman Jho Low.

The Malaysian was accused of stealing  $4bn from the Mubadala Investment Company, an Emirati sovereign wealth fund. Witkoff put up the property for sale in 2017.

However, no buyers could be found for the $1bn price tag put up by Witkoff and his partners. While the owners refinanced the hotel in 2019 with a $615m loan from different banks, the Abu Dhabi fund increased its stakes in the property as part of the DOJ’s effort to recover funds.

The QIA has been making systematic investments in New York for some time. In late 2022, QIA joined other entities to provide Meyer Orbach and Josh Gotlib with a $261m preferred equity investment to finance their purchase of three apartment buildings developed by the late Sheldon Solow.

In addition to owning a stake in the Empire Realty Trust, QIA also backed Michael Stern and Kevin Maloney’s Billionaires’ Row tower at 111 West 57th Street.

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