On Monday, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) closed the acquisition of Park Lane Hotel in Midtown Manhattan for US$ 623 million, according to industry specialist PincusCo and to New York’s Office of the City Register.
The building is well known in the SWF-industry, as it was first acquired by Jho Low (i.e., Malaysia’s 1MDB) and IPIC (now Mubadala) for US$ 654 million in 2013. Jho Low’s stake was subsequently seized by the US Department of Justice, until Mubadala paid US$ 140 million more for it in December 2018. The sale price therefore represents a gain of US$ 156 million for the Abu Dhabi fund, after the ten years holding period.
Since absorbing IPIC in 2017, Mubadala has been divesting most of the legacy assets, including Spain’s CEPSA (now co-owned with Carlyle), Austria’s OMV and Borealis (to ADNOC), Aabar Investments (the entity involved in 1MDB’s scandal) and QADIC (a joint venture with QIA). The oil investments and activities are now directly spearheaded by Mubadala Petroleum, recently rebranded to Mubadala Energy.
The Park Lane Hotel is the latest addition to QIA’s important footprint of real estate investments in New York. The Qatari SWF started investing in the city in 2015 alongside Brookfield in Manhattan West, a 7-million-square-foot mixed-use development built as part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment. Last year, Brookfield and QIA sold One Manhattan West, one of the towers, to Blackstone, but they continue to be investors in the rest of the complex.
Other significant New York properties invested by the QIA include the Empire State Realty Trust (owner of 20 properties including the Empire State Building); the St Regis Hotel on Fifth Avenue (bought in 2019 for US$ 310 million); the iconic Plaza Hotel (via Katara Hospitality); and the JACX (a Long Island City development by Qatari Diar). Separately, the historic InterContinental New York Barclay is owned by Constellation Hotels, one of the private offices of Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, former CEO of the QIA.
According to Global SWF data platform, QIA would have provided over US$ 8 billion in equity and debt to vehicles linked with properties in New York City, which is still far from the US$ 21+ billion invested in London. Other major US cities that have received Qatari funding include San Francisco (St Regis Hotel), Los Angeles (Westwood offices) and Washington DC (City Centre DC and Conrad Hotel).