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New York's Plaza Hotel (finally) sold to Qatari?

A Qatari state-owned company has taken over New York’s Plaza Hotel, according to the operator of the historic property. The sale follows a fight for control of the Manhattan property, located across from the southeast corner of Central Park.

Katara Hospitality, Qatar Investment Authority’s hotel division, completed the purchase on July 2, according to an AccorHotels representative, who was told of the ownership change.

Katara acquired 100 percent of the property from its majority owner, Sahara India Pariwar, as well as minority owners Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., Kingdom Holding Co. and Sant Singh Chatwal, according to people with knowledge of the transaction who asked not to be identified.

The transaction is said to be valued at $600 million.

AccorHotels said its Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will continue to manage the property. “The Plaza’s legacy of renowned luxury, incomparable service and timeless elegance will continue,” Sandra Pinto Duhamel, an AccorHotels spokeswoman, said in an email.

Previous Agreements

In May, Sahara agreed to sell the Plaza to Shahal Khan, founder of the Dubai-based family office White City Ventures, and Kamran Hakim, of New York landlord Hakim Organization.

But earlier this week, United Capital Real Estate, a third suitor, was said to be suing Subrata Roy, the property’s majority owner, alleging that it breached an agreement by seeking a separate deal, and fraudulently induced them to enter into contracts, show proof of funds and place money in escrow, according to a complaint filed in New York state court.

United Capital Real Estate was seeking damages of $1 billion plus interest and attorney costs.

John DeMaio, an attorney for United Capital Real Estate, said it’s not possible for the deal to have closed or the title on the Plaza to have been transferred because United Capital’s notice of pendency, better known as lis pendens in Latin, hasn’t been resolved.

He added that his client is confident that it holds the only valid contract because the other agreements were not signed by Subrata Roy, and it’s not clear if Sahara representatives in the US have the appropriate authority.

A person close to the seller said the United Capital contract isn’t valid because that group never showed proof of funds or paid a deposit. But John DeMaio said his client was in full compliance with all contract terms and the contract is fully enforceable.

This is the second complaint filed against Sahara, which owned a 70 percent stake in the hotel. In May, Ashkenazy Acquisition and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding sued the group for allegedly reneging on an agreement that gives them the right to match another offer.

The offer they matched was from a group led by Shahal Khan that agreed to pay $600 million in a deal that was set to be completed on June 25.

Sandeep Wadhwa, president of Sahara US, said he disagreed with the Ashkenazy and Kingdom allegations and would file a response in court, but has yet to do so.

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