NEW YORK: The Pakistan International Airline's (PIA) iconic Roosevelt Hotel will close its doors to customers permanently from October 31 due to financial constraints, according to a statement on the hotels website, Geo News reported.
"Due to the current economic impacts, after almost 100 years of welcoming guests to 'The Grand Dame of New York' The Roosevelt Hotel is regretfully closing its doors permanently as of October 31, 2020," the notice said.
"We have been honored to serve alongside our wonderful staff and to be a part of our many guests’ and clients’ lives and celebrations, who have graced us over these past nine decades," it said.
The hotel management said that it was working on alternatives for the guests with a future reservation. "We have enjoyed being as much a part of our guests’ stories as we have been an integral part of the history of Midtown Manhattan since 1924."
The statement, however, was later removed from the website but the hotel’s front desk is not accepting reservations post-October 31. When contacted, the staff said that the hotel is being closed but refused to share further details in this regard.
The development comes after the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on September 2 approved funds worth $142 million to address the financial challenges faced by the PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York, US.
The decision to grant the PIA the funds was made in a meeting chaired by Adviserto the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
Pakistan People’s Party Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, meanwhile, revealed that “according to the details presented before the Aviation Committee of the Senate, Roosevelt Hotel has been making profit year on year for the last 15 years! Yes, COVID has hit the hospitality industry hard but this does not make the case for its disposal.”
Earlier, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation had said that it would not be selling the Roosevelt Hotel York but would run it under a joint venture with a third party. The hotel, constructed by Niagara Falls businessman Frank A Dudley, opened its doors for guests on Sept 23, 1924. It was managed by the United Hotels Company.
In 1979, the national carrier leased the hotel through its investment arm, PIA Investments Ltd, with an option to purchase the building after 20 years. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was a key investor in the 1979 deal.
In 1999, after the completion of the 20-year period, PIA bought the hotel for $36.5 million. In 2005, the airline agreed to buy out its Saudi partner in exchange of the prince’s share in Hotel Scribe in Paris at the cost of $40 million and the PIA’s share in the Riyadh Minhal Hotel. The national carrier since then has held a 99% share in the hotel while the Saudis hold only 1 percent stake.
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