The Roosevelt Hotel in New York – an entity owned by Pakistan International Airlines Investment Limited (PIAIL) – announced late Thursday that it would be ‘closing its doors permanently’ on October 31
A notice by the hotel administration stated, “Due to the current economic impacts, after almost 100 years of welcoming guests to The Grand Dame of New York, The Roosevelt Hotel, is regretfully closing its doors permanently as of Oct 31, 2020.”
“We have been honored to serve alongside our wonderful staff and to be a part of our many guests’ and clients’ lives and celebrations, who have graced us over these past nine decades,” it continued.
According to the website, the hotel was working on alternative accommodations for guests with future reservations. Shortly after, the post was removed from the website but the hotel is not taking any reservations after October 31st.
“We have enjoyed being as much a part of our guests’ stories as we have been an integral part of the history of Midtown Manhattan since 1924,”
The development comes after the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on September 2 approved funds worth $142 million to address the financial challenges faced by the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York, US.
The decision to grant the PIA the funds was made in a meeting chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
Earlier, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation had said that it would not be selling the Roosevelt Hotel York but would run it under a joint venture with a third party.
The CCoP directed the Privatisation Commission to hire the services of a financial adviser to start the process for the transaction, as proposed by an accounting firm, Deloitte, in July 2019. The firm recommended that “the highest and best use of the Roosevelt Hotel property is to redevelop the site into a mixed-use [property] (through joint venture) of primarily an office tower over retail and condominium.”
Diplomatic sources, however, explained that the PIA still owned the property as the building had not been sold.
“The hotel has been closed like other hotels in the area because the coronavirus pandemic has almost killed the hotel industry,” one such source said.
The sources explained that the building was still valued at more than a billion dollars. “Pakistan now has two options, sell it or convert it into a condominium like other Manhattan hotels hit by Covid-19,” another source said.
The Roosevelt Hotel, named after United States’ former President Theodore Roosevelt, was constructed by a Niagara Falls businessman, Frank A Dudley and was inaugurated on September 23, 1924.
In 1999, PIA had purchased the building for $36.5 million. In 2005, the PIA bought out its Saudi partner in a deal that included the prince’s share in Hotel Scribe in Paris in exchange for $40 million and the PIA’s share of the Riyadh Minhal Hotel. The PIA has since controlled 99 per cent interest in the hotel while the Saudis have only 1pc.
Currently, the cost of the hotel stands around $1 billion. The current US President Donald Trump has also offered to buy the building.