Sahara buys 2 iconic New York hotels

NEW YORK: Subrata Roy-promoted real estate-to-financial services major Sahara Group has completed the acquisition of two iconic New York hotels-New York Plaza and Dream New York-both based near Manhattan’s Central Park, a century-old destination for socialites and celebrities, for around $800 million (about Rs 4,400 crore). The Sahara Group, which had acquired Grosvenor House in London in 2010, is said to be now looking at picking up some other landmark properties in New York to build up a portfolio of luxury hotels.

According to sources, the Sahara Group will acquire a 75% stake in Plaza Hotel for $570 million, while Kingdom, the investment vehicle of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, will hold a 25% stake after a complex transaction. Similarly, Sahara has bought Dream Downtown, owned by celebrated New York hotelier Vikram Chatwal for $220 million. Both the deals were signed on Monday.

Dream Downtown, featuring 315 loft-style rooms and Suites is a prized property of the Chatwals. Dream Downtown is within walking distance of shopping and art galleries and the famous neighborhoods of SoHo, Chelsea, and the West Village. Both Plaza and Dream Downtown would continue to be looked after by the existing management. It could not be immediately ascertained as to how Sahara would finance the two deals. It may be pointed out that it had earlier pledged the Grosvenor House to raise 250 million pounds, a part of which may be used to fund the New York purchases. Sahara officials did not comment on the development. The deal comes at a time when Indian Hotels, part of the Tata group, has made a bid for acquiring a controlling stake in the Bermuda-based hospitality firm, Orient Express Hotels for $1.86 billion.