Plaza Hotel’s Owner Entertains Offers
The majority owner of Manhattan’s storied Plaza Hotel is entertaining offers for the property, according to people familiar with the matter, as the Indian company that controls the hotel tries to dig itself out of a financial hole.
The more than century-old Plaza, located at the southeast corner of Central Park, is one the world’s most famous hotels. It has been featured in movies and novels, including “The Great Gatsby” and the “Eloise” children’s books. Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles have stayed there as guests.
While a renovation a few years ago reduced the number of hotel rooms from about 800 to 282, and several floors were sold as ultraluxury condominiums, hotel experts say its prime location and iconic stature would still command one of the highest sale prices in the city. A stay this Saturday at one of the Plaza’s suites starts at $1,450 a night, according to its website.
In 2012, India’s Sahara Group acquired a 75% stake in the Plaza for around $431 million from Israel’s El-Ad Properties. Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal owns the other 25% of the property, which includes about 100,000 square feet, or 9,300 square meters, of retail space.
Subrata Roy, Sahara’s 65-year-old founder and chairman, is being detained in a New Delhi jail. India’s Supreme Court says two Sahara units haven’t paid billions of dollars they owe bond investors. Mr. Roy, who surrendered to police last month after the court ordered his arrest, says Sahara has refunded investors directly. He hasn’t been convicted of a crime.
Sahara has built a financial empire that owns dozens of companies, including TV channels, a luxury, 10,000-acre township near Mumbai, and hotels, including London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, New York’s Dream Hotel and the Plaza.
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