Sales  ·  Commercial

Qatar Sovereign Fund Acquires Park Lane Hotel for $623M

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The Witkoff Group and Emirati sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company came close — but not close enough — to breaking even on the Park Lane Hotel.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) — the sovereign fund for the Middle Eastern country — has purchased the hotel overlooking Central Park for $623 million, according to property records. PincusCo first reported the sale.

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The Witkoff Group, Mubadala and QIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

All things considered, it probably could have sold for a lot less.

The joint venture purchased the 631-room hotel for $653 million in 2013 and refinanced it for $615 million in 2019.

Witkoff and Mubadala had planned to convert the hotel at 36 Central Park South into condominiums, but the enterprise became embroiled in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fraud scheme in which the former prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, embezzled $700 million in government funds out of the Asian country into personal accounts.

Low Taek Jho, an associate of Razak, helped the JV and its minority stakeholders, Howard Lorber and Harry Macklowe, acquire the property. Low, who had a majority stake, eventually relinquished control to Mubadala for $135 million through a federal forfeiture lawsuit in 2018.

The condo plan was shelved in 2016, and Park Lane still operates as a hotel.

QIA has a large portfolio in the city — being ranked as the ninth-largest commercial owner in 2017 — but last made a big purchase in New York in 2019, when it bought the St. Regis Hotel for $310 million, Crain’s New York Business reported.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.