Dubai Group set to sell New York hotel
One of Dubai’s most high-profile investments in the United States could be about to be sold, after Dubai Group indicated it is looking for buyers for its famous Essex House hotel in New York.
The state-owned investment firm confirmed it will welcome offers for the historic property, which was built in 1931 and overlook’s Manhattan’s famous Central Park.
The 43-floor hotel was acquired in 2006 and a reported $90 million was spent on refurbishment as Dubai’s Jumeirah Group took over the management of the hotel. “Current global investor demand for world-class hotel assets such as Essex House provides a timely opportunity to capitalise on the repositioning and operational improvements executed by our team,” Dubai Group’s acting chief executive Fadel Al Ali said in statement yesterday.
The hotel is considered by many as the crown jewel of the Dubai Group’s US property portfolio, and it is not yet clear whether its sale is part of a broader strategy to reduce its Stateside interests.
The Wall Street Journal quoted experts as saying that the sale of the hotel could bring the firm between $375 million to $500 million thanks to its prime position on Central Park South, but noted that several of the park-facing rooms in the property have already been sold as private apartments.
Meanwhile, in a statement emailed to 7DAYS yesterday, the Jumeirah Group said it believes it will continue to manage the hotel despite a potential change in ownership.
“Jumeirah Group has been informed that the owner of the Essex House has appointed advisors to explore opportunities with regard to this property in New York. Jumeirah remains confident in the value it brings as an internationally respected
luxury hotel brand and expects that it will continue to manage the hotel after the sale of the property,” the firm’s vice president of corporate communications, Piers Schreiber, said. He said in the meantime Jumeirah would remain “fully focussed on delivering the highest level of luxury service to its many loyal guests at the hotel.”
In its long history Essex House has been a particular favourite of the rich and famous, reportedly including the likes of Angelina Jolie and Jude Law.
The property made headlines in 2009 after Dubai-based real estate executive Andree Bejjani was murdered in her room by a member of staff.